The Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the London 2012 anti-doping facilities will be developed after the Olympic and Paralympic Games into a world-class resource to study the impact of genetics and environmental factors on the metabolism. The Phenome Centre, the first of its kind in the world, will use the cutting edge facilities developed for London 2012 to help develop better and more targeted treatment for patients.
The new Phenome Centre is based in Harlow Essex and will be funded over five years by an investment of £5 million each from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The facility will build on and develop state-of-the-art equipment and the expertise of the London 2012 anti-doping facilities provided by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and operated by King’s College London. A phenome describes a person’s chemistry - all the molecules in their blood, urine or tissues - that are the result of their genetics and their lifestyle and the machines will be able to test samples and detect metabolic ‘biomarkers’.
Welcoming the scientific legacy of London 2012, Mr Cameron said:
When the games close, all this incredible equipment and expertise will be used to establish a new Phenome Centre for research into biological markers of health and disease. This will take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that lie in combining genetic data with the results of medical tests on tissues and blood. It will allow us to understand the characteristics of disease and how these link into genes and our environment.
It’s an impressive example of collaboration between top-class research, the NHS and industry. It will produce new forms of drugs - and it will lead the world in the development of precision medicine.