MHRA and Genomics England to Launch Revolutionary ‘Biobank’ for Personalized Medicine

Conal Cram
3 Min Read

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Genomics England have announced the launch of a groundbreaking genetic research resource, known as a ‘biobank‘. This novel venture, set to revolutionize our understanding of adverse drug reactions, is a stride towards an era of personalized medicine.

Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) continue to be a significant burden on the NHS, with one in 16 hospital admissions attributed to side effects. The Yellow Card biobank, containing genetic data and patient samples, is set to play a pivotal role in mitigating this issue. The aim is to predict, rather than react to, ADRs, reducing the risk of hospital admissions and enhancing patient safety.

The MHRA and Genomics England are starting their journey into this new frontier of medicine with a focus on a drug named allopurinol and related rare, severe skin reactions. Subsequent areas of focus for this pilot will be disclosed in due time.

According to MHRA Chief Executive, Dr June Raine DBE, the biobank is a stepping stone towards personalized medicine. “Almost a third of adverse reactions to medicines could be prevented with the introduction of genetic testing,” she said. “This has the potential to transform our safety monitoring activities – enabling us to meet a real need by using high-quality patient data to reduce side effects of medicines.

This progressive initiative is backed with £175 million and aims to harness the UK’s genomic capabilities to ensure patients receive safe, effective medicines. Steve Barclay, Health and Social Care Secretary, emphasizes the significance of this project, stating, “Developing a better understanding of our DNA can transform outcomes for patients, through improved treatments and sped-up diagnosis for conditions such as cancer and rare diseases.

The MHRA, responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK, and Genomics England, tasked with delivering genomic medicine in partnership with the NHS, are excited to embark on this journey. This project is a key part of the Government’s Life Sciences Vision, promising a future where medicine is tailored to the individual, not the mass.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this pioneering initiative in the comments below. How do you think the biobank will influence the future of personalized medicine?

Sources: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Genomics England official press release – 25 May 2023.

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Conal is a seasoned tech industry professional and content writer for numerous tech publications. With a strong background in software engineering and digital media development, he's passionate about sharing the latest updates and insights in the tech industry, particularly in artificial intelligence and other disruptive trends. In his spare time he loves a mezze platter and a good film, and if he's not playing Fortnite or spending time with his daughter you can assume he's at the dry slopes!
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