£6 million cash injection for Scottish Genomes Partnership

2 March 2016

Scotland’s investment in genomic medicine has received a major cash boost with a £6 million injection into the Scottish Genomes Partnership (SGP).

The Scottish Genome Partnership, a collaboration of Scottish Universities and the NHS, was founded following £15 million investment for state-of-the-art Illumina whole genome sequencing technology by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in January 2015. 

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn announced that The Scottish Government is contributing £4 million and the Medical Research Council, £2 million to the SGP, ahead of a parliamentary reception to mark Rare Disease Day yesterday.

The cash boost will allow scientists to sequence and analyse 3000 healthy and sick people in Scotland. SGP will use the WGS technology for genomic research on rare diseases, cancers, central nervous system (CNS) disorders and Scottish population studies. Combining knowledge of the whole genome sequence of patients with information from their health records will enable rare and common genetic diseases to be better understood and enable new ways to test, manage and treat these diseases to be devised.

SGP will work with Genomics England on the diagnosis of patients in Scotland with rare diseases.

Professor Tim Aitman, Co-Chair of the Scottish Genome Partnership and Director of the University’s Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine said: “This funding creates a unique opportunity to translate the investment of Scottish Universities into immediate healthcare benefits for Scottish patients. The remarkable advances in genome technology over the past five years will now be available to patients in the Scottish NHS, bringing a new dimension of healthcare to Scottish patients with cancer and inherited diseases.”