Genomic medicine is a powerful tool in improving healthcare for patients and is already embedded in many areas of healthcare provision.

Genomic medicine uses the information in our DNA to inform and personalise our healthcare. Our DNA contains code, and the stretches of DNA which provide the instructions for building and operating a person’s body are called genes. The word genome refers to the complete set of genes in a person’s body.

By studying an individual’s DNA, healthcare professionals can identify differences that may contribute to a disease, allowing personalised care to provide people with the treatment or intervention most likely to be effective.

A person’s genetic makeup impacts the effectiveness of certain medications and can even make them more susceptible to unwanted side effects.  We call the study of how a person’s genes influence their response to drugs ‘pharmacogenomics’.

In some situations, early diagnosis using genomic testing methods and preventative measures can prevent disease progressing and becoming harmful.  This is why participating in routine screening (e.g. for cancer) is so important.

The role of the NHS North East and Yorkshire Genomic Medicine Service is to work with NHS organisations to embed genomics in new areas that help provide equitable care and better outcomes for patients in our region.