USING DNA IN CLINICAL PRACTICE

Gene Research Family History Prevent Breast Cancer UK

A full-scale revolution in the way diseases including breast cancer are investigated and treated is set to occur in the NHS from October this year.

 Announced on the front page of the Guardian newspaper yesterday (4 July 2018), the roll-out of bespoke DNA testing in disease treatment plans across the NHS will enable clinicians to tailor treatments based on the individual’s genes – rather than a ‘one size fits all’ treatment approach which has previously been followed for disease treatment. 

 This development is a step towards ‘precision medicine’, something our Professor of Clinical Genetics, Gareth Evans, has been working towards during his career.

 Prof. Evans runs our pioneering PROCAS trial, which aims to personalise breast cancer screening for women across the UK. At present, it’s being run on a trial basis in Manchester.

 He also runs our SNPs research project, an intricate piece of research looking at sequencing small parts of the DNA to identify what SNPs may give a woman a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

 Of the new plans for DNA testing in a clinical setting, Prof. Evans said: “Identifying the underlying genetic abnormalities in a tumour can allow oncologists to ‘tailor’ treatments to the genetic problem. This may mean patients get a more appropriate and sometimes less toxic treatment rather than receiving ‘standard’ therapy for that particular tumour type.

 “This new way of assessing tumours from their DNA will mean that the NHS in England will lead the world in undertaking this through a publicly funded service. This development should be strongly supported and lauded as a major step forward for the NHS on its 70th birthday.”

 You can read his full response to the project in the Guardian

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