The Hong Kong Genome Institute (HKGI), established and wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government (Government), commenced full operations in 2021. With the vision “to avail genomic medicine to all for better health and well-being” and supported by the Health Bureau, HKGI works in close collaboration with the Department of Health, Hospital Authority, medical schools of local universities and other stakeholders to accelerate the development of genomic medicine in Hong Kong along four strategic foci: integrate genomics into medicine, advance research, nurture talents and enhance public genomic literacy.
The Government established the Steering Committee on Genomic Medicine in December 2017 to map out the strategies for developing genomic medicine in Hong Kong and subsequently set up HKGI upon the recommendation of the Steering Committee to promote the city’s long-term development of genomic medicine, with the Hong Kong Genome Project (HKGP) as HKGI’s first key initiative.
HKGP, being the first large-scale genome sequencing project in Hong Kong, serves as a catalyst to benefit patients and their families with more precise diagnosis and personalised treatment through whole genome sequencing (WGS). It also aims to establish genome database of the local population, testing infrastructure and talent pool to address the healthcare needs of Hong Kong in the long run.
As the first step towards achieving its vision, HKGI launched the HKGP in 2021 focusing on diseases and research cohorts that would benefit from WGS. They include undiagnosed diseases, hereditary cancer and diseases related to genomics and precision health.
HKGI has already set up Partnering Centres at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital and Queen Mary Hospital to help recruit eligible participants with informed consent, while also keeping other relevant stakeholders closely engaged. The results of sequencing analysis will be fed back to respective clinical leads and patients once available to aid diagnoses and clinical services.