Whole-genome sequencing tests for cancer

Whole-genome sequencing tests for cancer

Asst Prof Cheow, who is the principal investigator at the NUS Institute for Health Innovation Technology, said that many of the current tests for cancer look at just a few genes, which is why many of the current tests for cancer look at only a handful of genes.

Cancer is a very heterogeneous disease. He said that if you look at just a few genes, you're bound to miss out on some patients who actually have cancer.

He added that whole-genome sequencing attempts to sift through all the genetic material, making it expensive.

He noted that the test developed by the team strikes a balance between breadth and depth.

He said that we are able to look at hundreds and thousands of genes simultaneously, but still maintain a low cost thanks to the ability of this heating to eliminate a large majority of the non-informative DNA sequences.

Cancer detection in a non-invasive manner is not available in the market right now, because of a comprehensive yet low cost. The team consists of researchers from the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering under the College of Design and Engineering, as well as the NUS Institute for Health Innovation Technology.

Asst Prof Cheow said the test has been trialled among colorectal cancer patients at the National Cancer Centre SingaporeCancer Centre Singapore.

He said that these tests are being used to test cancer patients who are undergoing treatment and we also check the tumour load in their blood to see if they are responding. He said that early detection of recurrence is also being tested.

He said that the team is confident in applying the concept to other cancers as well.

He said that the enrichment of these cancer-specific modifications at this heat-resistant DNA is universal across different cancers.

He added that more people may be encouraged to do regular cancer screening because of the fact that the test has good sensitivity and specificity and is affordable.