NHS East Genomics has increased its genomic testing capacity across the East of England and East Midlands by enabling its Leicester laboratory to carry out urgent cancer testing on site.
Genomic testing can inform diagnosis and prognosis across a diverse range of cancer types. It can also reveal gene variants which provide novel treatment opportunities via targeted therapies.
The genomics laboratory at University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), which is part of the East Genomics Laboratory Hub (East GLH), has recently installed new testing equipment so that the team can carry out more detailed genomic tests for certain cancers.
We are now able to deliver some of the more advanced genomic tests for lung cancer, colorectal cancer and melanoma for patients across Leicestershire and will soon be expanding to cover further tumour types.Lara Cresswell, Head of Cytogenetics, United Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
“The new equipment – known as a Genexus X – also enables us to carry out tests where there is limited tumour sample available, which ultimately can help provide a diagnosis or further insight into the type of cancer patients are dealing with. This can be life-changing.
“It’s an exciting time for our team. As well as our scientific team being able to work on the new equipment, it is also useful for researchers at the University of Leicester to carry out vital research.”
East Genomics Laboratory Hub offers a range of rare disease and cancer genomic tests to the East of England and East Midland.
Its main laboratory is based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has local laboratories in Leicester and Nottingham.
The Laboratory in Leicester is responsible for the region of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire and the expanded cancer testing work is aligned with the NHS East Genomic Laboratory Hub Cancer Strategy.
Dr Amanda Clarkson, Clinical Operations Director, NHS East Genomic Laboratory Hub said:
"I’m delighted that some of our cancer testing can now take place in our Leicester Laboratory."
By the team in Leicester having this capacity along with the Cambridge Laboratory it enables the East GLH to provide testing across our region, enabling greater equity of access for patients.Dr Amanda Clarkson, Clinical Operations Director, NHS East Genomic Laboratory Hub
Dr Clarkson added: "All tests provided by the East Genomic Laboratory Hub are listed in the National Genomic Medicine Service are funded centrally by NHS England.”
The Leicester team will be rolling out these new tests to colleagues in Northamptonshire in the next few months. A similar expansion of testing at the local laboratory at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is planned in the coming months.