About

Find out more about the NHS North Thames Genomic Laboratory Hub

We are the NHS North Thames Genomic Laboratory Hub (NTGLH), one of seven genomic laboratory hubs in England responsible for providing genomic and genetic testing, including the start of whole genome sequencing, as part of the new Genomic Medicine Service in the NHS.

From 2020, genomic testing in the NHS is being provided through this single national testing network, built on consolidating and developing our existing genetic testing laboratory services. This will create a world class resource for the NHS and support the future Genomic Medicine Service. It will also support the delivery of the Government’s Life Sciences Strategy and the broader research and innovation agenda, building upon the NHS contribution to the 100,000 Genomes Project.

The seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs (GLHs), are each responsible for coordinating services for a particular part of the England. We are the North Thames GLH, led by Great Ormond Street NHS Foundation Trust, serving North London, and much of Essex and Hertfordshire.

The other six GLHs are:

  • Central and South Genomic Laboratory Hub led by Birmingham Women’s and Children NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Genomic Laboratory Hub led by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • North West Genomic Laboratory Hub led by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • South East Genomic Laboratory Hub led by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • South West Genomic Laboratory Hub led by North Bristol NHS Trust
  • North East and Yorkshire Genomic Laboratory Hub led by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The national hub and network model will not only improve patient access for genetic testing, but will also support the development of more personalised healthcare. The ultimate ambition is for patients with rare and inherited diseases and cancer to be diagnosed quicker than ever before to enable more appropriate, individualised treatment, no matter where in England they live. 

Who we are

We are North Thames GLH and will provide all core rare and inherited disease and cancer genomic testing services for the population of north, west and east London, and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

Barts Health NHS Trust

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

East London NHS Foundation Trust

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

North East London NHS Foundation Trust

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust

South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

West London Mental Health NHS Trust

Some other Trusts will be part of London North GLH for cancer samples only.

The North Thames GLH is a partnership between a number of Trusts who currently have genomic testing laboratories across North London. Led by Great Ormond Street NHS Foundation Trust, the partners include Barts Health NHS Trust, Imperial College Hospital and its partner laboratory North West London Pathology, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust with its partner laboratory Health Services Laboratories, and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. Other organisations who have genetic services and active genomic research laboratories, such as Moorfields Eye Hospital, will also contribute to the GLH.

One of the aims for the new Genomic Medicine Service is to re-organise laboratory services, to enable the provision of high quality, rapid testing. As such we will be looking to unify the majority of laboratory services into two main laboratories, one for rare disease and one for cancer. The laboratory for rare and inherited disease testing will be based on the Great Ormond Street Hospital site, and the consolidated cancer laboratory will be based at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust site.

What we do

Rather than sending tests to individual labs across the country, as was done previously, those NHS Trusts in the North Thames area will send all genomic sequence diagnostic tests to the North Thames GLH.

In our Hub, we have two main laboratories. The one for Rare and Inherited Diseases is based at GOSH. For cancer, the main laboratory is based at The Royal Marsden Hospital (RMH).

The genomic work of North Thames is largely divided into two
sections:

1. Core Testing

This includes some testing for rare and inherited disease and most cancer testing. This core testing will be delivered by all seven GLHs in England.

For rare and inherited diseases: North Thames GLH will test for the more common conditions such as cystic fibrosis, haemochromatosis, familial hypercholesterolaemia, prenatal aneuploidy testing, Non Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis (NIPD) and inherited predisposition for common cancers (e.g. BRCA).

For cancer genomic testing:  all somatic (acquired) genomic tests on solid tumour and leukaemias are currently designated as core tests and will be delivered by all seven GLHs including London North.

2. Specialist testing for rare and inherited diseases.

Testing for specialist areas have been divided into 17 groups and these tests will be delivered by at least two GLHs with specialist expertise in these areas. This means that for some conditions we will be sending samples to other GLHs for testing, and other GLHs will also be sending us tests for other conditions. Tests requested for any patient in our geography will need to be sent to the NT GLH in the first instance and then we in the Hub will send on any tests that need to be done by another GLH.

North Thames GLH will be providing specialist testing for some other GLHs for the following conditions:

Hearing Loss

Ophthalmology

Musculoskeletal

Immunology

Rare Inherited cancer

Metabolic

Mitochondrial

Neurology

Renal

Skin

All genomic tests available in the NHS Genomic Medicine Service are listed in the National Genomic Test Directory. This directory defines who is eligible for which test and which health professionals should request testing. It is divided into one directory for rare and inherited diseases and one for cancer. This means that all patients will have access to the tests they require regardless of they live in the country.

As the Genomic Medicine Service becomes established there will be a national ordering system but for now tests will continue to be requested as they have been in the past.


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