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Despite recent significant advances in genomic techniques, there are currently no practice guidelines for the clinical implementation of genomics.

The Oxford-UCL Centre for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), in association with researchers at the University of Oxford and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have today published an Opinion piece in Nature Medicine, which recommends the development of ‘Good Genomic Practice’ (GGP) guidelines. Like good laboratory practice (GLP) and good manufacturing practice (GMP), GGP aims to ‘ensure the quality and consistency of medical research and practice’ in the field.

The proposed guidelines would address the ethical, scientific, quality assurance, data handling and storage issues surrounding genomic diagnosis, setting out best practice principles from ‘initial sample collection to the ultimate clinical decision.

Good practice guidelines in this field would result in greater consistency in the reported results as well as an improved understanding of the clinical significance of genetic variants. Not only is this a step towards stratifying medicine; but also the development of integrated global databases with standardized formats, bringing the ultimate goal of truly personalizing treatments closer.

The authors suggest that international leaders in the genomics field should create a checklist to map out the key stages in the process that require standardization and then work with wider stakeholders to formulate guidelines.  Defining the parameters of GGP at this early stage will ensure that the field realizes its ‘boundless potential to improve human health.’


Original paper in Nature