East Genomics

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Circulating Tumour DNA (ctDNA)

Supporting early diagnosis of cancer for patients who cannot have a tumour biopsy.

What is this project addressing?

Cancerous cells and tumours leak DNA into the bloodstream as the tumour grows. It is possible to look for these fragments of DNA as a way to determine if a tumour is present and so confirm a diagnosis.

This project aims to provide evidence, including the health economics, for the expansion of ctDNA testing in the NHS to support early diagnosis of cancer, diagnosis of cancer for patients who currently cannot have a tumour biopsy or do not yet have a confirmed diagnosis​.

This form of testing could lead to much earlier diagnosis of cancer leading to faster and more effective treatment. This could save the lives of patients living with cancer.

What are we doing?

Starting with non-small cell lung cancer patients as an exemplar, we will provide evidence for the expansion of ctDNA testing to support early diagnosis of cancer and diagnosis of cancer for patients who currently cannot have a tumour biopsy or do not yet have a confirmed diagnosis.

Samples are being taken from patients with non-small cell lung cancer in Cambridge, Leicester, Kettering and West Suffolk. A sample of blood can be used to look for and measure the amount of ctDNA and identify specific mutations (changes) in the DNA.

Who are we working with?

  • NHS Trusts within the East of England
  • National ctDNA Pilot Project (Lead by North Thames GMSA)

Progress and next steps

  • Roll out to other cancer types e.g. breast, CUP, ovarian, colorectal.
  • To include all targets set out in the National Genomic Test Directory and national specification for this project, samples will be sent directly to commercial companies.
  • Health economics review to be included with national data.

Education session

ctDNA event flyer
The engagement and education session that we ran in October 2023 update for over 90 healthcare staff from across the region.

Meet our Team