The Biomics Centre for medical research opened at St George's Hospital Medical School in London last week. The new centre aims to bring together four new areas of biomedicine, to tackle diseases ranging from cancer to pneumonia. It claims to be the world's first purpose-built facility to bring together the sciences of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics. 'Science already has the 'ologies', now it's the turn of the 'omics', announced the hospital's press release. The project has secured grants totalling around £8 million, including funding from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and Research into Ageing.
Genomics is the study of all the genetic information, or genome, of a living creature. The Human Genome Project is helping researchers to identify genes involved in illnesses such as heart disease, whilst sequencing the genomes of disease-causing organisms can help tackle infectious diseases. Proteomics is the identification and study of all the different proteins in the body, which change during the life of the cell, and in response to disease. Metabolomics is the study of all the different chemicals (metabolites) used and produced by the body, of which there are thousands in each cell. Finally, transcriptomics is finding out which genes in a cell are active, by studying messenger RNA molecules - the intermediaries between genes and the proteins they make.
'The beauty of this new centre is having the facilities to study all these aspects of biology and medicine in one place' said Dr Tim Rutherford, scientific director of the Biomics Centre. Similar projects include the Biopolis centre in Singapore, and Genopole in France.