The real reason to get excited about our partnership to improve access to immunotherapies
Most people would assume that the most exciting part of CCG.ai’s partnership announcement with Genomics England last week is that we are moving into the field of immuno-oncology. We are. It’s not. Others would assume that the most significant part is that it is a sign that Genomics England is beginning to deliver on their one of their four core aims “To kickstart the development of a UK genomics industry”. They are. It’s not. The really significant and exciting news that comes from this announcement requires a bit more digging under the surface.
Since Frederick Sanger first invented the process of sequencing, to the very first human genome being sequenced at what is now rightly known as the genome campus. Fast forward several years and we reach a point in time where Genomics England has just delivered the 100,000 genomes project and the UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced a plan to deliver 5 million genomes over the next five years. The model has been so successful so far, that other countries are taking note and following suit.
In a day and age where people are becoming more and more conscious about who has access to their data and what it is being used for, it is easy to forget that cancer patients have been openly sharing not only their data but also themselves through clinical trials for years. At a time when people fear being controlled through the use of their data, cancer patients have been the brave ones taking control of their data and using it to help improve care for future patients. This is exemplified by the set-up of Genomics England’s Access Review Committee. An independent body consisting mainly of participants of the 100,000 genomes project, that reviews who Genomics England is allowed to give access to data and samples from the project. It is a thorough and rigorous process by design and allows the patients to have full control of how their samples and data are being used.
So if you were to ask me what the most significant and exciting part of our partnership announcement was, I would say it is the fact that…
We didn’t just pass through the process, but actually had members of the panel come to visit us in Cambridge and leave even more excited than when they came in. The cancer patients of today have sent a clear signal that if you are doing something that is truly innovative and that can really make a difference to the cancer patients of the future, then they want you to use their samples and data to help deliver that goal.
After all, we’re all in this together.