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James Woods 10, becomes 1000th participant in ground breaking 100,000 genomes project

A lifelong patient of Saint Mary's Hospital has become the 1000th participant in a ground-breaking project that is revolutionising the way those with rare genetic diseases are diagnosed and treated.

James genomics 2

Ten year-old James Woods has joined the initiative which involves collecting and decoding 100,000 human genomes - complete sets of people's genes - that will enable scientists and doctors to understand more about specific conditions.

The project has the potential to transform the future of healthcare.  It could improve the prediction and prevention of disease, enable new and more precise diagnostic tests, and allow personalisation of drugs and other treatments to specific genetic variants.

James and his parents attended Saint Mary's Hospital to meet Professor Bill Newman, Consultant Geneticist and Lead for the Greater Manchester Genomic Medicine Centre, who is leading the hospital's participation in the three-year NHS England project. The hospital is one of thirteen centres across the country involved.


James has been attending the genetic clinic since he was 18 months old under the care of Professor Graeme Black, Consultant in Genetics and Ophthalmology. His participation will contribute to research that is helping more people be diagnosed sooner and changing the way those with genetic diseases are cared for with potential for new and more effective treatments.

The family first found out about the project at their recent clinic appointment. James's mother, Lesley said:  "We've taken part in the study for James' future and don't really expect anything short term. We are excited to have the opportunity to take part in the project - it was an easy decision to take part and stay at this hospital because of the research done here.

James' Dad Dan said: "We're happy to be part of a project that helps other families in the future and may help James when he is thinking of having a family."

James genomics

Professor Bill Newman was keen to mark the 1000th recruit to help raise aware of the project. He said: "We need to make sure doctors and families are aware of the project to make it available to families across Greater Manchester. We have now recruited over 1250 patients, 250 more since James joined the project three weeks ago - participation in the project is growing thanks to the hard work of health professionals across Greater Manchester.  Our next big push is to recruit patients with cancer so that we can understand the best ways to treat different types of tumour.

"We are beginning to get results back and for some families, this will have an important impact. Further, the data from the project will be critical in how we use genomic sequencing for the NHS in the future."

If you would like to know more about the project contact the Greater Manchester Genomic Medicine Centre team by calling 0161 276 6506 or emailing genetics.research@cmft.nhs.uk