Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 30 of 51 January/February 2019 Clinical OMICs 29 medicine across the entire country is the development of a healthcare workforce knowledgeable of genomics and its applications for individual patients. In the East of England region, one of seven newly created hubs for the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, that responsi- bility falls on the shoulders Gemma Chandratillake, Ph.D. It's hard to imagine a better candidate for this job, as Chan- dratillake has received training in both molecular biology and genetic counseling, and was an early employee of the genetic testing company Personalis. She told Clinical OMICs that the intent of the NHS over the next 18 months was to get as many staffers at each of the country's hospital trusts trained, with a plan to have a fully trained genomic medicine workforce within 10 years. For some, that might mean completing only a few course modules online that relate directly to their day-to- day work, while others may decide to receive their mas- ters degree via a program NHS has created and will be deployed at selected universities within each of the seven geographic hubs. "We are going to offer it widely," she said, "to doctors of all different flavors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, pri- mary care physios. We are trying to go very wide so we can get people of all different specialties and of all different jobs across the board." While NHS provided similar training to hospital trusts participating in the 100,000 Genome Project, not all partici- pated, meaning there will be a significant increase in scale. "I think it is important to emphasize the scale of the ambition. This is huge and it is not going to be easy," Chan- dratillake said. "At 100,000 it seemed like an impossible mountain to climb and we climbed it. We now have a bigger mountain to climb, but we will climb it too." For her, that means expanding from the four hospital trusts in her region who were involved in the 100,000 Genomes Project, to now providing training and outreach to 30. Allison Pope, Chandrillake's supervisor, is program lead for the genomics education program at Health Education England, based in Birmingham. She believes virtually all 1.3 million people employed by the NHS will eventually need to have at least a basic level of knowledge of genomics. But her group is also faced with getting doctors at the front lines up to speed quickly on some granular topics. Since it is the intent of the NHS to continue collecting research data from patients treated in the Genomic Medicine Service "there will be a consent process a patient will have to go through. So clinicians will need to have a conversation with the patient on the clinical decision to have a genomic test," Pope said. "But they will also have a decision if they would like their data to be used as a part of research—that's a complex conversation." To aid this, doctors will have access to an electronic sys- tem to help guide them through this process, but Pope said it is clear that creating a framework regarding these conver- sations, which may be new for some doctors, is a priority. For Chandratillake bringing genomic medicine country- wide also represents a concrete example of NHS having a focus on care equity across ethnic, regional, and socio-eco- nomic lines. Through the 100,000 Genomes Project, NHS tracked patient recruitment and coverage of populations. "We have plotted all of our recruited patients across the regions [to show] they are not just from Cambridge, so we feel very good about that," she said. Yet aside from providing for more equitable care, and aside from being by far the largest deployment of genomic medicine to date, NHS' and Genomics England's effort may also be ushering a new area. In a chance meeting in a corridor of Dawson Hall outside the offices of Genomics England's offices, Board Chairman Sir John Chisolm quipped to Clinical OMICs: "This is the beginning of the digital revolution in healthcare." (continued from page 26) The Genomics Education Programme team of Health Education England. A member of Health Education England conducts a small training session in conjunction with the launch of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.

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