City patients help pioneering cancer research

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PATIENTS in Edinburgh could be among the first to take part in a pioneering initiative to match cancer to the most appropriate treatment through genetic tests.

Cancer Research UK’s Stratified Medicine Programme aims to establish an NHS genetic testing service for cancer patients in the UK, allowing doctors to have access to the tests in order to decide which drugs are best for their patients.

Medical staff from Cancer Research UK’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with five of the charity’s other centres, will ask up to 9000 patients to participate in the first phase of the programme, covering breast, bowel, lung, prostate, ovary and melanoma skin cancer.

The research body said patients will be recruited through a network of more than 20 hospitals around the country, including Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Patients will be asked to give consent for a small sample of their tumour to be sent to one of three NHS genetic testing labs where DNA will be analysed for a range of molecular faults linked to cancer. The information will then be stored alongside other relevant clinical information to allow researchers to compare the success of different treatments for faults in cancer cells.