Sagentia outlines five prong approach to support gene testing revolution
Sagentia, the technology consultancy and global product development company, today outlines a set of measures which the company argues need to be considered before gene testing can become commonly available. The measures would help to move the gene sequencing sector beyond its current ‘cottage industry’ status and help make the approach available for commercial mass use. Sagentia’s announcement comes in response to a call by England’s Chief Medical Officer for DNA testing to be routinely offered to cancer patients so that they can be offered the most appropriate treatments.
A series of technical developments in DNA sequencing has made it possible to map the genetic make-up of individuals and their susceptibility to disease. Falling costs have created a real opportunity to develop precision drugs targeted at specific genetic mutations. In the UK over 31,000 NHS patients, including some with cancer, have had their entire genetic code sequenced.
Prof. Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer wants the approach to become as standard as blood tests and biopsies.
However the approach is only just beginning to transition from research labs to clinical settings. To accelerate the shift to commercial mass scale use, Sagentia sees the need for:-
- Leveraging the huge wealth of data already generated in the UK’s 100,000 Genome programme, and the clinical samples available in depositories of cancer samples across the country
- Research to identify ‘actionable’ mutations that drive the development of cancers and that can be used to target future treatment
- Increased development to overcome some of the technical challenges associated with sample preparation, particularly for small samples, or stored clinical samples. Given that samples are often heterogeneous, there is also a need to develop enhanced techniques for isolating representative, clinically-relevant samples
- Improved understanding by clinicians of the importance of personalising treatment for patients based on genomic data, and educating patients in the value in sharing their anonymised clinical data
- Provision of genetic counselling to help guide patients through the treatment decisions associated with their own genomic data
Paul Wilkins, Managing Director, Medical at Sagentia says:- “We welcome Dame Sally Davies’ enthusiasm for using DNA sequencing in mainstream clinical medicine. While manufacturers of DNA sequencing instrumentation continue to focus on reducing cost and turnaround time, the broader healthcare industry must continue to invest in the technologies upstream and downstream of sequencing, as well as provision of expert insight and support for DNA sequencing to be widely adopted in the clinical setting.”