Paula Gascgoine is the first recruit at George Eliot Hospital for the pioneering 100,000 Genomes Project.
George Eliot Hospital, based in Nuneaton, is one of 17 NHS Trusts in the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC), recruiting individuals with cancer and some rare diseases.
In the case of cancer it is hoped that comparing the genetic make-up of patients’ tumours with their own healthy blood will enable doctors to learn more about the disease, leading to a better understanding of what causes it and the development of new, more personalised treatments and drugs.
George Eliot is currently recruiting individuals with breast cancer and colorectal cancer, and other cancers are being recruited across the region.
Paula was at the George Eliot breast clinic, who told her she was suitable for the project.
“It was a really quick process. Within a week of being talked through the consent process I was in for an operation, during which a sample was taken for testing,” Paula explains.
“I think this project is a fantastic idea, and all this data is really going to help doctors with diagnosis and treatment.
“Anything that could lead to better treatment is worth doing.”
Kishore Makam was Paula’s breast surgeon and is a strong supporter of the project.
Mr Makam said: “The 100,000 Genomes Project could revolutionise the NHS.
“By sequencing the genomes of people with cancer, like Paula, we may be able to provide quicker diagnosis and personalised medicines and treatments.”
Sean James is one of three Genomics Ambassadors for the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC), covering the south and east of the region, and talked Paula through the process.
“I am delighted that our first patient has been recruited to the programme in Nuneaton,” Sean commented.
“We are now recruiting across all of our 17 WM GMC trusts.”
The project is open to patients with certain cancers as well as those with eligible rare diseases and their families and aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes – complete sets of people’s genes.
The aim of the project is to collect and sequence 100,000 whole genomes, from patients with rare diseases and their families as well as cancer patients, to enable doctors to understand the conditions better and develop personalised care.