Genomics in the North East and North Cumbria

Written by Paul Brennan on 9th December 2015

I was delighted to be asked to write a blog for our regional AHSN as it offers a great opportunity for me to provide a brief update on the work of The North East and North Cumbria Genomic Medicine Centre (NE&NC GMC). We are part of a national network tasked with delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project.

Essentially our role is to help NHS organisations prepare for a future that will be characterised by genome technology. The NE&NC GMC is currently supporting the ‘rare disease’ genomes strand of work, and is working towards adding people with common cancer. Our role is to coordinate patient recruitment, sample processing, data analysis and clinical reporting – no mean feat! At present, recruitment is undertaken by a small team of dedicated practitioners, although the goal is to enable clinical teams cross the region to access genomic technologies.

The NE&NC GMC is a network, not just a team based in Newcastle. My team will need to develop broad and deep links with all NHS organisations in the region and would like to undertake a number of pieces of collaborative work, with approval of each partner organisation. The purpose is to understand current ‘readiness’ for genomic medicine and encourage the widespread adoption of common systems to facilitate the adoption of genomic technologies across the region.

Importantly, if we can see ourselves as a network, we have the opportunity to share information, to find out what works well, and perhaps what doesn’t. We need to work together to prepare ourselves for the inevitable changes in clinical practice that genomics will offer.

So, watch this space: we will be in touch soon to discuss ways in which we can work together with your organisations and specialties, and we are very interested to hear your comments, questions or concerns.

For further information please see my full briefing paper or visit our website.

Feel free to contact me directly at