Translational Genetics Laboratory

Professor Nazneen Rahman

“Genetic testing will help us develop personalised and more effective treatment for cancer patients.”
– Professor Nazneen Rahman

Genetic testing is a powerful new tool that will transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Help us bring the latest genetic tests into clinical practice.

The new Translational Genetics Laboratory will allow patients like Clare to benefit from the latest genetic tests, enabling us to better diagnose their cancer and to develop more personalised and effective treatment plans. This project is being led by Professor Nazneen Rahman (pictured above).

In July 2013 the TGL started performing genetic tests for ovarian cancer patients. These patients have previously not had good access to genetic testing, despite over 10% of cases being due to gene mutations. This pilot project at The Royal Marsden will support the case to make genetic testing standard across the NHS, improving cancer diagnosis and treatment throughout the UK and beyond.

The work of the Translational Genetics Laboratory will complement that of Dr David Gonzalez de Castro at the Centre for Molecular Pathology. While David’s team is looking at the molecular composition of cancer cells within tumours, Nazneen’s work focuses on the individual and their overall genetic makeup – how the genes they have inherited from their parents may predispose them to certain types of cancer and influence their treatment.

More access to genetic testing

At present, patient access to genetic tests is very restricted due to their high costs and the long time needed to produce results. This is set to change dramatically though, with new advances in DNA sequencing technology. These vital tests used to take months and cost thousands of pounds, but they now cost a fraction of that amount and can be completed in a single day. It’s as if we are now able to fly whereas previously we could only walk.

By helping us to make this technology available at The Royal Marsden, you will be enabling patients to benefit from these pioneering genetic tests as an essential element of their diagnosis.

Initially, the Translational Genetics Laboratory will focus on breast and ovarian cancer patients, as these types of cancer are known to have a high prevalence of causal genes that determine effective treatment. However, our aim is for all patients at The Royal Marsden to receive a genetic test as part of their diagnosis, and we expect this to be possible within the next three years.

We need to raise £1.16 million

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity is committed to raising £1.16 million for the Translational Genetics Laboratory so that many more patients can benefit from personalised diagnosis and targeted treatment.

How you can help

You can make a donation to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, or find out about other ways to support us.

The Translational Genetics Laboratory will be a step change in clinical practice, allowing us to bring the benefits of these pioneering genetic tests to patients at The Royal Marsden. The key to personalised cancer treatment is in our genes: genetic testing is one of the most important developments in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Please support the creation of the Translational Genetics Laboratory today.