Genetic Tests Developed to use in NHS Laboratories
News Feb 08, 2006
Researchers at the Oxford Genetics Knowledge Park (GKP) have announced that they are using custom made microarrays provided by OGT Services to develop genetic tests for use in NHS Regional Genetics Laboratories.
The Oxford GKP is focusing on complex diseases, such as colorectal cancer, cardiovascular diseases and learning disabilities, as part of a network of six Genetics Knowledge Parks that was set up in 2002 to translate genetics from research into clinical practice.
"We are setting up tests or technologies that already exist in research fields and could be suitable for complex disease testing within NHS Regional Genetics Labs. Until now, the NHS has largely focused on genetic testing for single gene disorders," explained Dr Jenny Taylor, Programme Director at the Oxford GKP.
"We knew that the NHS genetics laboratories would need off-the-shelf products, so we were looking for someone to tailor-make microarrays for complex diseases."
"I went to a number of companies and OGT obviously had the array technology, and were happy to diversify into synthesising oligonucleotide arrays for chromosomal abnormalities and array-based CGH."
"We have completed proof-of-principle studies to ensure that the oligonucleotide arrays work, using colorectal cancer and learning disability samples with known chromosomal abnormalities, and we now need to extend these studies."
"The advantages of using these microarrays include higher resolution, which is really important, and the fact that they are affordable; the cost of these tests is the NHS labs’ main concern."
"The Oxford Region NHS Genetics Laboratory has now bought a platform that will be compatible with OGT’s microarrays and I am sure that this technology will be applicable to other diseases."
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.