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500th Manchester participant recruited to study linking genes with health

The weather stayed bright for NIHR CRN Greater Manchester’s visit to Shahporan Mosque in Levenshulme, where the team recruited the landmark 500th Manchester participant to the Genes and Health Study.

The study is one of the world's largest community-based genetics studies, aiming to improve health among people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage by analysing the genes and health of 100,000 people, the study is also being run in East London and Bradford.

The study opened earlier this year in Greater Manchester and 500 people have now taken part after CRN Greater Manchester's Direct Delivery Team team visited community settings such as places of worship, shopping centres, markets, and music and food festivals to make the study as inclusive as possible.

The 500 landmark was reached as the latest 56 people took part at Shahporan Mosque following Friday Prayers on Friday 28 October 2022. 

The team invited people to provide a small saliva sample which would then be sent to London for the genes to be analysed. The study will link genes with health records, to study disease and treatments and is looking at the genetic makeup of volunteers which will help researchers understand more about various health conditions that affect the population at large.

South Asian people have some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes and poor health in the UK. Volunteers are asked to give their consent to be contacted again and some may be invited to participate in further health research studies on the basis of data gathered from their samples, health records and information provided.

The study has been supported in Greater Manchester by Research for the Future which helps people find out about and take part in health and care research. 

Professor Bill Newman from the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The project will help us understand why individuals from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds had more severe effects from Covid-19 infection, and allow geneticists like myself to give precise results from genetic tests to the families that we see from these communities to ensure that they get the best possible treatment and advice when they are affected by inherited conditions."

Abdul Kashem, chairman of Shahporan Mosque, was the 500th participant and said:

“Thank you for allowing Shahporan Mosque to take part in this study. There was a great turnout on Friday with over 50 people taking part. It was great to see people from the community come together to try and find a way to understand more about the nature of disease. I am very proud to be the 500th person recruited to this study, this is a significant landmark and will make such a difference to the lives of so many people.''

Take part in the study 

Further details about the Genes and Health Study can be found on the study website. To take part in the study in Greater Manchester, contact to see where the team will be visiting next.