The work of one of the region's Genomics Medicine Ambassadors - funded by WMAHSN to facilitate the spread of knowledge, experience and expertise gained by West Midlands trusts in the 100,000 Genomes Project - has been rewarded by University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM).
Dr Christopher Clowes, Genomics Ambassador for the North Midlands, has been given the UHNM Chief Executive's Award in recognition of his work on the project. He has worked tirelessly to instigate this national initiative, which will provide clinicians and patients opportunity to discover the molecular diagnosis for a range of rare diseases and cancers.
Professor Tony Fryer, Director of Research and Development at UHNM, said: "Dr Clowes had to overcome numerous challenges at the start-up of this project to finally oversee recruitment of the first patients in recent months. This is fantastic for UHNM, as it provides opportunities for our patients to receive a final diagnosis after what is often an anxious and frustrating time dealing with the unknown."
On top of setting up the project here at UHNM, Dr Clowes is also overseeing the recruitment of patients at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Oswestry, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust .
Dr Clowes said: "Receiving this award is both a great honour and very humbling. However, the award really represents the hard of work of many people and great teams from within various disease specialties and support services across the trust.
"The project is really well supported at UHNM, which is great news for staff and patients alike, as they know they have the most advanced diagnostic facilities available to them."
The project represents an important national transformation in healthcare and the start of a move away from a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to treatment.
Dr Clowes said: "Over the next 10 years, it is hoped that improved diagnosis of rare conditions and better understanding of cancer gained in this project will help to identify new therapeutic targets and lead to the development of new drug treatments. These treatments may then become part of increasingly personalised patient treatment pathways, tailored to the individual genetic makeup of patients."
UHNM is playing a crucial part in a collaboration of 18 NHS trusts which now form the West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre, one of 13 centres nationwide that are helping to deliver the project.
Paula Clark, Chief Executive at UHNM, said: "It is really encouraging and exciting to see the fantastic work that Dr Clowes and his team are leading here at UHNM. This achievement is testament to what hard work and dedication can achieve and I will be watching the progress of this project with great interest."