Scottish Science Advisory Council report:

Informing the Future of Genomic Medicine in Scotland

"Genome-based technology is transforming healthcare ... revealing new diagnoses for patients with rare inherited diseases and ... more targeted cancer treatments with better prospect of successful outcomes"

Scottish Science Advisory Council

18th February 2019

Scottish Science Advisory Council publishes report on Genomic Medicine

Today the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) published a report on the future of Genomic Medicine in Scotland. This report will support long-term planning and investment by the Scottish Government in this fast-evolving area of healthcare.

“Informing the Future of Genomic Medicine in Scotland” focuses on the implementation of genomic technology in the clinic, beginning with rare diseases and cancer, and extending to commoner diseases affecting society which will guide medicine prescribing (pharmacogenomics).

There are 6 key recommendations in the report, focusing on

  1. Leadership – the Scottish Government should establish a Leadership group for ongoing advice on supporting development of Genomic Medicine in Scotland.

  2. Clinical implementation – NHS Scotland should expedite the evaluation and adoption of genomic testing strategies into clinical pathways where there is good evidence of improved patient outcomes.

  3. Workforce – NHS Scotland should develop the essential expertise required to support and drive world-class Genomic Medicine capabilities in Scotland.

  4. Digital Health – the Scottish Government should ensure that the digital infrastructure needed to enable genomics within clinical pathways is put in place.

  5. Research and Innovation – the Scottish Government should work with other funders to support genomic research and innovation in Scotland, including patient and public involvement and engagement.

  6. Industry-facing Activity – the Scottish Government and its related enterprise agencies should build on the strengths of Scotland’s "triple helix partnership" between academia, the NHS and industry to maximise opportunities which will accelerate genomics development as an integral part of Precision Medicine.

The SSAC is Scotland’s highest level science advisory body, providing independent advice and recommendations on science strategy, policy and priorities to the Scottish Government. Professor Sheila Rowan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland has now sent the SSAC Genomic Medicine report to Scottish Government Ministers for discussion and the findings are under consideration by policymakers.

Many members of the SGP team contributed their knowledge and expertise to the writing group. In particular we thank the following for their time:

Professor Tim Aitman, SGP Principal Investigator and Director of Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genomics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), University of Edinburgh

Professor Andrew Biankin, SGP Principal Investigator and Director of Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre (WWCRC), University of Glasgow

Dr Susie Cooke, Head of Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory Informatics, WWCRC, University of Glasgow

Professor David FitzPatrick, Section Head, MRC Human Genetics Unit, IGMM and Consultant, South East Scotland Genetic Service, NHS Lothian, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

Professor Charlie Gourley, Professor of Medical Oncology, IGMM, University of Edinburgh

Dr Wendy Inglis Humphrey, Scottish Genomes Partnership Project Manager, IGMM, University of Edinburgh

Dr Alison Meynert, Medical Genomics Team Leader, IGMM, University of Edinburgh

Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka, Chief Investigator, SGP NHS Rare Diseases, Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Aberdeen and Service Clinical Director of Genetics for NHS Grampian

Karina O’Rourke, Programme Manager, NHS National Services Division, NHS Scotland

Professor Mandy Ryan, Director, Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen

Professor Colin Semple, Head of Bioinformatics, MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh

Professor Ed Tobias, Professor of Genetic Medicine, University of Glasgow

Nicola Williams, Head of Laboratory Genetics, West of Scotland Genetic Services, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

© 2019 Scottish Genomes Partnership

Scottish Genomes Partnership gratefully acknowledges the funding received from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates and the Medical Research Council Whole Genome Sequencing for Health and Wealth Initiative.