Scientist with the Novaseq

How does DNA sequencing help us to treat cancer?

Q&A with Mike Hubank, Head of Clinical Genomics

Mike Hubank

What is DNA sequencing?

DNA sequencing is helping us unravel the mystery of how our genes control cancer, so that we can develop better tests and treatments.  If the particular cancer‑causing mutations in a patient’s DNA are known, it means that treatment can be personalised to target those mutations. 

What is the NovaSeq?

Thanks to a very generous donation from the Denise Coates Foundation to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, The Royal Marsden acquired NovaSeq 6000 in early 2018. Using the NovaSeq, which is capable of sequencing six trillion bases of DNA in a single run, we recently became the first hospital in the UK to test all our patients on a comprehensive 200 gene panel to find potentially diagnostic or predictive cancer variants to help with treatment. Over 200 patients a week now benefit from these tests as standard of care.

What difference will the NovaSeq make to patients?

Genomic medicine has enormous potential to save lives. The NovaSeq will help us to develop new personalised treatments based on the genetic make-up of individuals’ cancers, meaning more effective treatments with fewer side-effects.

You can find out more about how the NovaSeq 6000 works by watching our video 

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How does the NovaSeq 6000 work?