Queen's cancer lab could save lives

Published Wednesday, 09 January 2013
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Cancer charities say research and testing carried out at a new laboratory at Queen's University in Belfast could help save lives.

The facility means oncologists can find out more about the specific cancer and decide on the best treatment for their individual patients.

That is because the solid tumour samples can be examined at molecular level at the new Northern Ireland Molecular Pathology Lab and Northern Ireland Biobank.

It will also advance significant research in new cancer diagnostics and new cancer treatments.

Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez from Queen's said the lab could have life-changing results for patients.

"Testing at the molecular level allows us to identify changes in the cancer's genome that are associated with better outcomes, and better lives, for the patients who suffer from certain types of cancer," he explained.

"We are taking yet more significant steps on the journey, started by our oncologists years ago, which has seen us make significant improvements in cancer survival over the last 15 years."

We believe that nurturing world-class research in Northern Ireland will accelerate progress in research leading to increased survival from the disease.

Cancer Research UK

More than 1,000 patients have already had their tumours analysed at the new facility, which is a partnership between Queen's Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The Trust's Chief Executive, Colm Donaghy said: "Once fully operational, several thousand people with cancer of the colon, breast, lung and skin, among others, will benefit each year from the new facility."

"Together with Queen's we are developing new models that may define the way medicine will be delivered in the future."

The facility has been welcomed by cancer charities, including Cancer Research UK whose chief scientist, Professor Nic Jones said they believe it will ensure individual treatments are available sooner for cancer patients in NI.

"Cancer Research UK is proud to support a team of scientists who have expertise in using this essential tissue resource to understand how to classify patients into groups so that they can receive the most effective treatment targeted to the faults in their DNA, and avoid unnecessary treatment with difficult side effects," said Prof Jones.

© UTV News
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