EuroGentest has announced an urgent 'Call for new Innovative Techniques in Genome Diagnostics'.
One of the key objectives of the 5-year EU-funded project is to bridge the gap observed in the chain of new technology transfer from research into routine use in genetic diagnostics.
To address this, EuroGentest Unit 5 has been formed to coordinate all the activities required for accelerated technical evaluation, validation and subsequent implementation of new technologies into clinical practice.
Responses to the call will be used to help build a web-based inventory of new techniques and also discussed in an open satellite workshop at the ESHG meeting in May.
Bert Bakker and Nienke van der Stoep, of the Center for Human and Clinical Genetics at the Leiden University Medical Center who are involved in Unit 5, say the timing of the call is no accident, "At present, the field of genetics is witnessing an impressive expansion of new technologies, including not only new advanced high throughput and micro-array approaches, but also straightforward yet highly sensitive detection-assays for DNA mutations and genome copy-number changes."
"As geneticists we see that several of these technical developments could have real potential to improve genetic testing."
With this in mind, EuroGentest Unit 5 intends to acquire a comprehensive inventory of all the latest technological developments in genetic testing and to coordinate their technical evaluation through a network of accredited Diagnostic Centres all over Europe using well-characterized clinical samples.
Bakker and van der Stoep believe that introducing such a coordinated introduction and evaluation of various techniques in different Diagnostic Centres in place of the adhoc informal system that exists currently will not only improve the technical evaluation process, but will also speed up subsequent validation procedures and implementation of new genetic tests.
"We would also hope such a transparent system would increase public acceptance and uptake of tests," continue Bakker and van der Stoep.
"Therefore we are now making a web-based call for "Innovative Techniques in Genome Diagnostics" at our Unit 5 homepage. We invite both academic and industrial research groups to introduce and assess their latest developments through expert diagnostic laboratories."
"We aim to build an inventory of the new techniques with open access to complement our list of existing techniques we are trialling currently with EuroGentest members."
As part of this initiative, EuroGentest will also be hosting a Satellite meeting on "Innovative Techniques in Genome Diagnostics" at the ESHG in May 2006.
At this meeting EuroGentest will provide a platform where companies and academic research groups can interact and present their techniques in genetic testing and receive feedback.