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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Cancer gene tests begin

22nd November 2011

Cancer Research UK has asked 9,000 cancer patients to participate in gene tests which could lead to improvements in treatments.


Laboratories in Birmingham, Cardiff and London will take tumour samples to examine them for faulty genes and compare the results of treatments.

Professor Malcolm Mason of the Cardiff Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre said the research would "play a key part" in offering patients targeted therapies and they were "extremely grateful" to those taking part in the study.

The research will not impact on or change patients' current treatment.

The charity said it aimed to construct a global leading genetic testing service for health service patients in the UK.

Patients who have six kinds of cancer will participate in the study: lung, skin, breast, bowel, prostate and ovarian cancer.


The research involves seven Experimental Cancer Medical Centres (ECMCs) and patients will be requested to give their consent for samples to be taken from their tumours.

Health service testing laboratories in the three cities will then take DNA from the samples and examine them for faulty molecules connected to cancer. 

James Peach, director of Cancer Research UK's Stratified Medicine Programme, said: "In the 10 years since the Human Genome Project was completed we've made huge progress in unravelling the genetic basis of cancer. We know that prescribing treatment according to the genetic basis of a tumour greatly improves the chances of successful treatment."

He added: "This programme marks the beginning of the journey...I'm confident that within the next few years we'll see personalised medicine changing the face of cancer treatment and saving many more lives." 

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