On 14 May 2021, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Genetic Counselor capacity building partnership to support Thailand’s development of medical genomics and precision medicines.
Ms Alexandra Mckenzie, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy Bangkok expressed in her congratulatory remarks to this signing:
I am very pleased to learn about this partnership between TCELS and GSTT to set up genetic counsellor training programme for Thailand. I am certain it will greatly contribute to the development of genomics ecosystem and the provision of high quality services to Thai people in the near future. TCELS has been an excellent partner for the UK in many areas of our work here in Thailand. I am delighted therefore that we were able to connect TCELS to GSTT, with its renowned genetics department.
Dr. Sirasak Teparkum, CEO of TCELS said:
TCELS supports the creation of knowledge and promote research that lead to products, services and innovations in life sciences and create economic and commercial value, in line with the 20-year National Strategy (2018-2037). This 2nd National Strategy aims to build Thailand’s competitiveness in the field of precision medicine and genomics. Genetic information, environment and lifestyle of each patient will be used in the diagnosis to tailor design the most suitable treatment. Nowadays, genomic medicine has been applied in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer, rare diseases, infectious diseases, and pharmacogenetics in the prevention of drug allergy.
Genomic Medicine requires knowledge of both basic sciences such as molecular biology and clinical skills for doctors, nurses and counselors. In addition, big data obtained from genome sequencing requires the skills of bioinformatics specialists and epidemiologist to store, analyze and process. Thailand still lack human resources in this field, particularly in counselling. Genetic Counselor is not yet an established profession and there is no formal training curriculum in Thailand.
Dr. Sirasak added that
UK has advanced medical and health technology, especially in the field of genomics where certified professional education and training is internationally recognized. Facilitated by the British Embassy Bangkok, TCELS has partnered with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), which is part of King’s Health Partners, a world-class Health Science research center, to organize a training programme for genetic counselors and develop capabilities for genetic consultancy in Thailand.
This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Genetic Counselor capacity building partnership to support Thailand’s development of medical genomics and precision medicines is a significant collaboration that will transfer knowledge and expertise in genetic counselling from the UK to Thailand. Increased capacity in Thailand will lead to further development in human resources, local expertise, effective diagnosis and treatment, contributing to better health and living standard of Thai population as well as lessening the burden to Thai government healthcare budget.
This partnership on medicine and health between Thailand the UK will also lead to opportunities for further collaborations in other areas such as joint research and the development of complete healthcare and medical ecosystem. On behalf of TCELS, we would like to thank the British Embassy Bangkok for the support in linking TCELS to GSTT, resulting in this cooperation.