Bangladeshi and Pakistani people in East London have some of the highest rates of poor health in the UK and are disproportionately affected by diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.
Experts from Queen Mary University of London are launching a large-scale medical research study – called East London Genes & Health – which aims to improve the health of these local communities by gathering information, for the first time, about their genetic makeup.
The study aims to find new ways to improve population health in East London and elsewhere by studying how genes vary from person to person in the adult Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities. In particular, the team will study genetic variations in healthy adults whose parents are related. The research will improve our understanding of how genes work and help develop new medicines and treatments. The first phase of the study aims to recruit 100,000 participants from the local community.
The launch of the study throws up issues of how and where it sits in the much publicised big data debates, the need to break taboos of discussing cultural trends such as close parental relatedness, and it also puts the spotlight on Britain’s health inequalities.
The scientists leading the research came to the SMC to discuss the study.
Prof Richard Trembath, Vice-Principal for Health and Professor of Genetics, Queen Mary University of London
Prof David Van Heel, Professor of Genetics, Director of Barts and The London Genome Centre, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Anwar Ali Khan, Clinical Chair and Director of Research & Education – Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group