World’s biggest genetics scheme to ‘regenerate’ borough’s health

Professor Richard Trembath adressed the importance of 'regenerating' Newham and Tower Hamlets health

Professor Richard Trembath adressed the importance of 'regenerating' Newham and Tower Hamlets health - Credit: Archant

The world’s largest community genetics research project launched yesterday in East London.

The East London Genes and Health study aims to gather genetic information from 100,000 British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest to tackle the disproportionate level of heart disease and diabetes compared with other ethnic groups.

Speaking at the launch at Queen Mary Innovation Centre in Whitechapel, Professor Richard Trembath said the programme is crucial to tackling Newham and Tower Hamlets having the lowest life expectancy of London boroughs.

“This is a fantastic chance for us to move to a completely different level of understanding of genetic material,” he said. “And we have a chance to do something in the community with a real meaning and a real impact.”

A presentation at the launch showed Pakistani men have the highest rate of heart disease in the UK.

And with South Asian communities carrying twice the risk of dying early from heart disease and five times the risk of type two diabetes compared with the general population, Professor Trembath is urging a “regeneration” of East London’s health.

The study involves volunteers sending off an anonymous sample of their saliva in the post.

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Participants, 46 of who attended the launch, were assured no identity-related details will be passed on in the not-for-profit study.

Barts Health NHS Trust will work with charity Social Action to recruit participants aged 16 and over but details on how to participate can be seen at genesandhealth.org

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