Chancellor announces Sino-British health partnership

14 Oct 2013

The Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) has formed a partnership with the Peking University Health Sciences Centre to establish an international centre of excellence in genetic medicine.

Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement at Peking University
Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement at Peking University

The new Peking-Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, announced by UK Chancellor George Osborne in Beijing today (Monday), will comprise three separate but interdependent research facilities – the International Centre for Rare Diseases, the Centre for Cancer Genetics, and the Joint Clinical Trials Facility.

MAHSC’s involvement is being led by the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, an integrated centre bringing together University of Manchester researchers and Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical services, to form a world leader in genetic and genomic medicine for research into inherited diseases and delivery of services to families with inherited disorders.

Speaking at Peking University, the Chancellor, who is in China to promote UK business and encourage Chinese investors to choose Britain, said: “I am delighted to announce here the establishment of a new partnership between Peking University and Manchester University in the UK with the creation of a new joint centre for genomic medicine. Here, in the oldest and most prestigious medical school in China, let us work together on the medicines of tomorrow.

“This partnership will, I hope, give even more of you the chance to come to Britain and to study there. We already have 130,000 Chinese students, like you, studying in Britain – I want more of you to come…  There is no limit to the number of Chinese [students] who can study in Britain.”

Dean and Vice-President of the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences and Director of MAHSC, Professor Ian Jacobs, who is participating in the government-led visit, said: “This is an exciting partnership between MAHSC and our colleagues in Beijing. It will lead to important health and research benefits in the rapidly developing field of genetics to benefit the people of both countries as well as having a global impact. The planned work will draw on populations of up to 50 million individuals to harness next-generation genetic technology for patient benefit.

“The joint venture will contribute to the further development of the research strength of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and advance Manchester’s international reputation as a world leader in personalised cancer medicine, while improving care and diagnosis for many people here and in China.”

The Peking University Health Sciences Centre (PUHSC) is the oldest Western medical school in China, ranked first in the country for research and training. As part of the collaboration, six senior geneticists from the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine will travel to Beijing this week to deliver a training course for more than 300 health professionals and scientists at PUHSC.

Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), said: “This is a great indication of the quality of our clinical genetics services within the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine based in Saint Mary’s Hospital.  Working collaboratively is key to improving health care; this partnership will deliver cutting-edge translational research that will help our clinicians develop innovative diagnostics and treatments to benefit patients both in the UK and worldwide.” 

PUHSC’s Vice-President for Research and International Collaboration, Professor Wei-Gang Fang, said: “Rapid advances in genomics indicate that the impact of genomics in healthcare is only going to increase. By working together with our colleagues in Manchester, we will leverage the unique strengths of each university in the area of genomic medicine. Through our joint venture, we wish to make new breakthroughs to benefit the patients in China, in the UK and hopefully around the world.”

Professor Graeme Black, Consultant in Genetic Medicine and Director of the University of Manchester’s Institute for Human Development, added: “This joint venture comes at an exciting moment. Genomic medicine promises to revolutionise the understanding and delivery of care to patients across all specialties of medicine. It is an opportunity to harness our scientific discoveries for the benefit of the patients within our two large populations.”


Notes for editors

The Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine is a joint collaboration between two members of MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre) – The University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

MAHSC is a partnership between The University of Manchester and six NHS organisations. It is one of only five centres in the country designated as an AHSC. AHSC designation recognises excellence across research, innovation, education and patient services, and in particular the potential to excel in translational medicine.

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387
Mob: 07717 881563