Hong Kong Genome Institute (HKGI) is a private company limited by guarantee and wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Incorporated by the Food and Health Bureau in May 2020, HKGI is tasked with the mission to implement the Hong Kong Genome Project (Project) to drive local development of genomic medicine, so that patients could benefit from accurate diagnosis, personalised treatment and prevention of diseases in a targeted manner, advancing the health and well-being of population in the long run.
Pursuant to the 2017 Policy Address to harness the potential of new technology for better public health policies and clinical outcomes, the Steering Committee on Genomic Medicine (Steering Committee) was established to map out strategies for developing genomic medicine in Hong Kong. The Project is one of the eight recommendations the Steering Committee put forward in its “Strategic Development of Genomic Medicine in Hong Kong” which was accepted in full by the Government in 2020.
The Project, as Hong Kong’s first large-scale whole genome sequencing scheme, serves as a catalyst to establish genome database of local population, testing infrastructure and talent pool. While aiming to enhance clinical application of genomic medicine to benefit patients and their families, the Project will also foster scientific research in the field to facilitate Hong Kong’s medical development and address long-term healthcare needs.
Themed “See the Unseen”, the Project will be carried out in two phases, the pilot phase and the main phase. In collaboration with the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority and universities, it plans to conduct Whole Genome Sequencing for 20,000 cases. The pilot phase will target at 2,000 cases with a focus on patients and their family members of undiagnosed disorders and hereditary cancers. The main phase will cover the remaining 18,000 cases with scopes further expanded to include other diseases and research cohorts that would benefit from Whole Genome Sequencing. Under the pilot phase, patients with informed consent will be recruited from the partnering centres at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital and Queen Mary Hospital. The results of sequencing analysis will be fed back to patients once available to aid diagnoses and clinical services.
To avail genomic medicine to all for better health and well-being.
To accelerate the integration of genomics into medicine by driving clinical application, advancing research, nurturing talents and enhancing genomic literacy.