100K on the way
At the end of January Kat Arney headed down to the ExCeL conference centre in London’s Docklands to attend the Festival of Genomics - two days of talks, panels and other activities organised by Frontline Genomics, bringing together doctors, researchers, companies and the public to explore the latest in the UK’s fast-growing genetic technology sector. It was just like Glastonbury, but without the mud, cows, or Radiohead...
First up on the main stage was a panel discussion asking whether we will fully integrate genomics into the NHS within five years. One of the key parts of this challenge is the UK’s 100,000 Genomes project, run by Genomics England, which was launched by the Department of Health five years ago with the aim of doing what it says on the tin - sequencing 100,000 genomes from 70,000 people with cancer and rare diseases.
So far they’re halfway there, with 50,000 whole genome sequences in the bag. But what are they looking for, and what are doing with the information? Kat chased down one of the panellists, Mike Hubank, who runs the clinical genomics lab at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, to find out. And, just like Glastonbury, as this and all the other interviews were recorded live at the festival, there’s a bit of background noise to contend with.