Cancer is a disease that’s deeply rooted in our genes and there are more than 200 different types of cancer. Even among people with the same cancer, no two tumors or diagnoses are exactly alike.
In 2022, the QEII became home to a new, state-of-the-art genetic sequencing machine – the Illumina NextSeq 2000 system – that analyzes the genes of thousands of tumour samples each year. This technology helps identify the most targeted and effective treatments for cancer patients based on their tumour genetic makeup and unique cancer type.
With over 25,000 genes in each cell of our bodies, each individual make-up is unique. The sequencing machine scans the genes – similar to reading an instruction manual – and identifies the cancer-causing mutations. This informs how an individual’s cancer might progress and the treatment it may best respond to. This information will save lives.
Better outcomes, fewer side effects, access to a new therapy or clinical trial are all benefits this technology brings to patients, here at home. It can even spare patients from unnecessary treatments, if care teams know their cancer won’t respond. This is particularly important for those facing late-stage cancers.