• Queen Mary University of London
  • Barts Health NHS
  • Bradford NHS
  • Manchester Uni

Volunteer update 2022


11 Nov 2022

Genes & Health update

Over 53,000 British-Bangladeshi and Pakistani volunteers have joined Genes & Health since we started in 2017, and over 1,000 of you have visited our research centre at Queen Mary University of London in Whitechapel to help us with additional studies. We have been working in GP surgeries, hospitals, libraries, mosques, shopping centres and more.

THANK YOU to all those who have taken part and helped us!

We continue to work closely with our Community Advisory Group who guide the work we do and ensure that we are working for the long-term benefit of British-Bangladeshi and Pakistani people and communities.

We are now receiving support for our work major research funders, including Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health (USA) and others.

What has the study achieved?

Genes & Health is now working with 85 world-leading research teams who are making important discoveries that will help improve the health of British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis in the future.

Recent discoveries include:

- We have helped show that some British Bangladeshi and British Pakistani people get severe COVID-19 because of an inherited genetic change that is 4 times more common than in white people.

- We can use a person’s genetic code to predict their risk of type 2 diabetes, and give young people an early warning so that they can take steps to prevent it

- Using specialist genetic tests, we are identifying people and families at very high risk of heart disease (Familial Hypercholesterolemia) who may benefit from new treatments

- Several teams are working with us to study immune system and inflammation and help understand how our genes and cells help fight infection and protect the body from damage.

- By studying “knockout genes” we have been able to help design new, safe drug treatments. One discovery has already led to the development of a new drug to treat a serious childhood disease.

List of our scientific publications.

What is next?

Genes & Health is growing and as well as current work in heart disease and diabetes, future studies will focus on other major health priorities for British Bangladeshi and Pakistani people, including mental health, dementia and pregnancy health.

How safe is the volunteer information we hold?

We keep information from volunteers under the tightest security. Information is held in a secure ‘Trusted Research Environment’ which is certified by CyberEssentials, NHS Data Protection and Security Toolkit, ISO27001 and is GDPR compliant. The Trusted Research Environment has no external internet access and data out requests are carefully reviewed before approval (individual level data is not permitted to be exported). All researchers working with our volunteer information are carefully vetted and must complete training in data safety and information governance.

How can I help?

We are inviting more British Bangladeshi and Pakistani people to help us. We aim to recruit 100,000 volunteers, and invite many existing volutneers for additional studies.

If you, or anyone you know (including family members aged 16 or over), would like to sign up, please VOLUNTEER NOW. Taking part is quick and easy.