£31m genomics centre announced
The Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation is investing $50 million (£31m) to establish a new genomics research facility in the UK.
A series of social media announcements from the UK Life Sciences minister George Freeman (see right) and Department of Health (DH) this morning confirmed the establishment of a molecular medicine institute that will be located at the University of Oxford.
According to a DH tweet, the Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine will use the latest techniques to help characterise tumour samples from patients in order to “understand the particular genetic and molecular changes underlying that patient’s cancer”.
“Using the most advanced, sophisticated tools imaginable, we’re on a mission to solve the mystery of cancer
“This investment is a sign that Britain is leading the world in the exciting new field of genomic medicine,” said Freeman, who made the announcement this morning at a press conference in London alongside delegates from the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation.
“This investment [also] highlights the international confidence in the UK’s ability to develop better and more personalised cancer treatments that can make a real difference to patients - especially in rare disease and cancer,” Freeman said.
The funding will provide doctors with large-scale sequencing capabilities for patient-level epigenomic, genomic, proteomic, and digital pathology data capture as well as novel tools and super-computing technology to support critical decision making for cancer treatment, a university statement read.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine, said: “Using the most advanced, sophisticated tools imaginable, we’re on a mission to solve the mystery of cancer, and establish an adaptive learning system where the power of one can inform many.
“The infrastructure to manage big data must be established to enable a national network of clinical scientists in the UK and a portion of the $50M (£31m) commitment will be used to fund the capital needs to ensure that patients throughout England could benefit from this genomic platform.”
Soon-Shiong also said a remaining $35M (£21m) will support the operations of the Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine at Oxford.
Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “Through this partnership, we are furthering our ability to use cutting edge technologies to allow radically new approaches to cancer care.
“We will gain new understanding of how large amounts of genomic and other molecular data can be combined with clinical data to tell us much more about a patient’s cancer. The data will provide a rich resource for cancer research, drive the development of new drugs and support the design of clinical trials. And ultimately, the treatment course a patient receives will be determined by the characteristics of the cancer they have.”
In similar news, the University of Oxford has also announced the launch of a £110 million research centre in cancer medicine.
The development of the new centre was spurred by a £35 million grant from the government.
The Precision Cancer Medicine Institute will carry out research into a wide range of cancer therapies, including the use of genomics and molecular diagnostics, advanced cancer imaging, trials of new drugs, minimally invasive surgery and proton beam therapy, a university statement read.
Gillies McKenna, head of the Department of Oncology at Oxford University, said: “The Precision Cancer Medicine Institute aims to improve outcomes and increase cure rates for cancer patients. It will do this not only by making surgery and radiotherapy more precise and less invasive, but by designing new drug treatments that are more targeted and personalised to the characteristics of a patient’s particular tumour, and by using advanced imaging techniques to detect the earliest signs of response.
“Through the new institute we aim to undertake research that will help doctors get the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time.”