Overview

The Precision Medicine Cluster (Cluster 2) will consolidate theme-based programmes focused on developing genetic, protein, metabolomic, imaging or phenotypic biomarkers to enable patient stratification to improve outcomes. Early discovery programmes will utilise high throughput molecular profiling and advanced imaging to identify clinically relevant biomarkers.

Projects include gene/SNP discovery in Lupus and IBD (Genomic Medicine), metabolic and microbiome gestational profiling in spontaneous preterm labour (Women’s & Children’s Health theme), imaging studies investigating vascular aging and arterial stiffening (Cardiovascular), pHLA multimer enhancers (T/B cell peptides) in type 1 diabetes (Infection & Immunity), and multi-target approaches to stratify disease risk and therapeutic outcome in psoriasis (Cutaneous Medicine) and assess prognostic outcomes in acute rejection following renal transplant (Transplantation).

Validation programmes will confirm targets, explore mechanisms of action, and develop clinical assays.

Proof of Principle programmes will establish predictive relationships (including sensitivity, specificity and accuracy) between biomarkers and disease progression/clinical interventions, to demonstrate the utility of validated biomarkers by improving diagnosis/prognosis/risk prediction; monitoring the efficacy, safety or targeting of therapies; or demonstrating protocol compliance.

Projects include protein based safety/efficacy biomarkers following vaccination in newly diagnosed diabetes (Infection & Immunity), and several diagnostic biomarkers – cMyBP-C for acute myocardial infarction (Cardiovascular); a 99mTc-RGD tracer in rheumatoid arthritis (Infection & Immunity); and progesterone sulphate following ursdeoxycholic acid treatment for obstetric cholestatis (Women’s & Children’s Health).

The portfolio utilises existing Research Platforms (Genomics, Immune Monitoring, Bioinformatics); and the BioResource and our CAPTURE clinical research database will be used to maximise the benefits of working with Guy’s diverse patient population.

Celebrating success

To date we have initiated significant biomedical and translational research studies and initiatives focused on discovery of novel biomarkers, co-diagnostics, imaging and devices. We have also leveraged significant funding from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation, amongst others, enabling us to fund early stage research projects with translational potential.

Our achievements include (but are not limited to) the establishment of interdisciplinary biomarker discovery groups, the translational bioinformatics core within the Cluster and the integration of the NIHR BioResource core at St Thomas’ hospital within the wider NIHR BioResource agenda.
Our TwinsUK resource, the biggest adult twin registry in the UK celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2015. Over 12,000 twins are involved which has helped us to study the genetic and environmental aetiology of complex traits and diseases.

Collaborations

The cluster utilises a number of the services provided by the population sciences cluster (cluster three) including biostatistical support for clinical trials, patient and public involvement support and database design and data management.

In collaboration with the school of translational and experimental medicine STEM cluster (Cluster Four), we seek to provide training and education to a varied audience, with a particular focus on the cluster’s expertise in biomarker discovery and validation.

The cluster utilises a number of the services on offer across KHP. These include regulatory advice and support from the KHP Clinical Trials Office (CTO) and partner R&D departments at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital. In addition, clinical trial statistics, databases and management from King’s Clinical Trials Unit (KCTU), IP and licensing support and commercialisation advice from the King’s Commercialisation Institute are all exploited as necessary.

All of the cluster’s research investigators collaborate with their peers from other academic institutions in the UK and abroad as well as with commercial and non-profit organisations such as charities.

Cluster board

The cluster board is led by Professor John McGrath and brings together senior research clinicians from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. The board comprises expertise in translating research from the laboratory into clinical settings.

It has oversight of the Cluster’s research portfolio and acts as a forum to accurately and effectively support and monitor the research activities within the cluster.

Cluster contact

Cluster Manager: Dr Laura Turner

Laura.turner@gstt.nhs.uk