The first multi-gene DNA sequencing test that can help predict cancer patients' responses to treatment has been launched in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, thanks to a partnership between scientists at the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. The test uses the latest DNA sequencing techniques to detect mutations across 46 genes that may be driving cancer growth in patients with solid tumors. The presence of a mutation in a gene can potentially determine which treatment a patient should receive. The researchers say the number of genes tested marks a step change in introducing next-generation DNA sequencing technology into the NHS, and heralds the arrival of genomic medicine with whole genome sequencing of patients just around the corner. The many-gene sequencing test has been launched through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), a collaboration between the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxford University to accelerate healthcare innovation, and which has partly funded this initiative. The BRC Molecular Diagnostics Centre carries out the test. The lab, based at Oxford University Hospitals, covers all cancer patients in the Thames Valley area. But the scientists are looking to scale this up into a truly national NHS service through the course of this year. The new £300 test could save significantly more in drug costs by getting patients on to the right treatments straightaway, reducing harm from side effects as well as the time lost before arriving at an effective treatment. “We are the first to introduce a multi-gene diagnostic test for tumor profiling on the NHS using the latest DNA sequencing technology,” says Dr.
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