A partnership program between Pathology Queensland and Metro South Hospital and Health Service is offering a breakthrough genetic service meant to improve medical care for cancer patients.
At the new Australian Translational Genomics Centre (ATGC), researchers have identified and classified genetic mutations in 100 patients suffering from blood cancer. They are hoping that data collected from examining exome sequencing will help doctors make a better prognosis and suggest the likely response for the different treatment options.
“For 75 percent of patients the genetic mutations that were identified could inform doctors about how the patients would respond to particular treatments for their cancers, allowing personalised treatment to improve patient outcomes and avoid procedures not likely to be effective”, according to the press release.
This type of next-generation DNA testing has proven to be very effective especially for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, which combined represent the third largest cause of cancer deaths in Australia.
Professor Matt Brown, ATGC Director, noted that “in 60 percent of all the blood cancer patients tested, clinically informative genetic mutations were identified that had not been picked up by current standard genetic testing”.
The technology is also being used to help doctors determine if a leukemia patient requires a bone marrow transplant or not.
Dr. Brown added that “Queensland already has outstanding clinical services for blood cancer patients, and our testing has given these expert clinicians guidance as to how to provide the best possible treatment for blood cancer patients in three out of four patients tested”.
The program is expanding and scientists hope to apply this sort of diagnostic tool for other types of cancer as well.