Saturday's fixture against Sheffield United at Deepdale coincided with a new and exciting partnership launching between Preston North End Community and Education Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.
Using the combined strengths of health enterprise partners Preston North End Community Education Trust and the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the partnership will deliver key messages and health advice, so that everyone can achieve their full potential for mental, physical and social wellbeing throughout their entire lifetime.
The NHS is moving towards individuals having more ownership of their healthcare, giving us more personal responsibility to keeping fit and well, and in line with this, PNECET and LTHTR have come together to create a public engagement programme which will see PNECET staff visiting local schools to facilitate this.
Through North End’s PL Primary Stars programme, staff will teach children through fun activities about how they can proactively impact their health and quality of life with nutrition, exercise and engaging with NHS healthcare programmes at the earliest opportunity which includes finding out more about your 'genomes'. It is hoped that these children might then inspire their friends and families to do the same.
As simple as the procedures sound, the science and concept behind the initiative is much deeper, so here's the science broken down to give supporters an understanding of what Preston North End are making happen.
Genomics is an emerging social concept
The baseline for your health is your unique genetic blueprint known as your genome. Your genome is the list of instructions formed from over 3 billion letters inherited from your parents, organised into over 20,000 genes and packed into 23 chromosomes, in every single cell of your body.
The ‘Socialising the Genome’ initiative aims to raise public awareness of the significant impact of genomes in medicine, because this is rapidly transforming the health service and we need to adapt.
What do you need to know about Genomes? The 100,000 Genomes Project demonstrated that the UK is a world leader in the field of Genomic Medicine. Most of us have never heard of the genome except through online DNA tests that investigate ancestry, yet your genome is the genetic code for your entire being and is what distinguishes you from everyone else.
Your genomic information can tell medics about your current and even future health. It is highly likely that you or someone related to you will have a genetic test in your lifetime, and information learned about your genome could affect you or a family member. Knowing about the genome is important because future health interventions will likely involve personalised medicine. This means that lifestyle changes, targeted treatments and preventative strategies to keep you healthy will be informed by your unique genetic makeup.
How does it work?
Genomes are sequenced to ‘read’ 3 billion letters of DNA. About 99% of your sequence is identical to everyone else’s. Just 1% of your genome accounts for your individuality. Sometimes the differences can give us an evolutionary advantage. Other times the differences might be a disadvantage such as those genes associated with health problems.
Sequenced genomic data is compared to a reference genome to distinguish any important differences, and the genomic information can then be acted upon to best treat genetic diseases, or reduce the likelihood of them manifesting altogether.
Did you know that Genomic testing is already happening in the NHS? 5% of cancers in the UK are inheritable and run in families. Genomic sequencing allows members of these affected families to determine whether they are at increased risk of getting cancer, which means these patients receive closer monitoring.
Also, 7% of the population in the UK are affected by rare diseases and genomic testing allows proper diagnosis and management, plus informs other family members. Knowing about inheritable disease genes can help reproductive decisions where there is a family history.
And sequencing the genomes of microbes associated with infectious diseases predicts which antibiotics are most likely to be effective, and or indicate which medicines are most appropriate whilst reducing anticipated side effects.
Science fiction or science fact?So you have seen the CSI series and could now be asking yourself could my DNA be planted at a crime scene? Well 6 online educational animations have been created to answer frequently asked questions and stimulate conversation around genomics. You are invited to watch the films at www.genetube.org and have your say.