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26.09.18

Greater Manchester: Forefront of precision medicine

Source: NHE Sept/Oct 2018

Precision medicine is hailed as the next big thing in healthcare, and Greater Manchester is set to lead the way with a new £60m global genomics centre, explains Rowena Burns, chair of Health Innovation Manchester.

Put simply, precision medicine is a move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to one which targets therapies to achieve the best outcomes in the management of a patient’s disease or predisposition to disease. It means that we will be able to treat patients better, quicker and more accurately.

This concept isn’t particularly new. Clinicians have been working to personalise care tailored to people’s individual health needs throughout the history of medicine, but never before has it been possible to predict how each of our bodies will respond to specific interventions, or identify which of us is at risk of developing an illness. New possibilities are now emerging as we bring together novel approaches, such as whole genome sequencing, data and informatics, and new technologies. It is the interconnections between these innovations that make it possible to move to an era of truly personalised care.

Greater Manchester already has a strong track record in precision medicine, from breakthroughs in cancer treatment at The Christie Hospital, to the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at Manchester University NHS FT, and the University of Manchester as a hub of scientific discovery and research. This has established the city region as a jewel in the UK’s life sciences sector, further enhanced by Health Innovation Manchester – our groundbreaking partnership between academia, industry and the NHS, focused on accelerating innovation into health and social care at pace and scale, enabled by devolution.

A testament to Greater Manchester’s international pull is the news that German-based QIAGEN will be expanding its presence in Manchester to create a new global genomics centre, located on the UK’s largest clinical academic campus at the Manchester University NHS FT. The project will bring fast-tracked real health benefits to our population through access to new tests and targeted treatments developed through pioneering research. It will serve as an innovation incubator to support translating genomic biomarkers into clinical use and yield benefits for patients everywhere who need advanced diagnostic insights.

The new campus will be a major pull for other life sciences companies and is expected to create and support up to 1,500 jobs and add almost £150m to Manchester’s economy over a decade. As such, Manchester City Council approved a one-off investment of up to £21m, underwritten by life science enterprise zone business rates. Greater Manchester Combined Authority also agreed to provide £3m of loan funding.

The deal was made possible thanks to a multi-agency partnership led by Health Innovation Manchester, including Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester Science Partnerships, Manchester University NHS FT and the University of Manchester.

Fostering public-private partnerships to improve the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s citizens is exactly what Health Innovation Manchester was set up to do, and combined with our devolved health and social care system, this places us in an incredibly strong position to address the health challenges of the population.

Investment and devolution in the north of England will be discussed at EvoNorth, an exclusive event committed to driving forward the devolution agenda to deliver improved public services, enhance health and wellbeing, and make significant improvements to infrastructure. Don't miss your chance to attend, visit the website here

Top image: Manchester Science Partnerships

 

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