King's patients’ DNA sequenced to develop target treatment

06 February 2017 - The results will help with the development of personalised treatment plans for people with cancer

Genome

Three cancer patients at King’s College Hospital are among the first eight in the country to have their DNA sequenced as part of Government’s ‘100,000 Genomes Project’.

King’s is one of a select group of hospitals taking part in the project, which involves collecting blood and cancer samples from some patients and their relatives to help increase understanding of certain cancers and rare diseases. The ultimate aim of the project is to develop more targeted treatments, which are tailored to the individual patient.

At present, cancer patients are largely treated with the same drugs, which work for some but not for others. By using genetic sequencing, clinicians will be able to separate people with similar diseases into much narrower groups and target treatment based on their genetic code.

Dr Guy Chung-Faye, Consultant Gastroenterologist at King’s, whose patients are among the first to have their DNA sequenced for the project, said, “Although the first complete human genome sequence was published 15 years ago, with the introduction of the 100,000 Genome Project we are now testing on a much larger scale, and in the future we aim to make this part of routine cancer care.

“By drilling down to a patient’s individual DNA code, we can start to pinpoint the mutations that caused the cancer. Over time, this will lead to the development of precision treatments, which will revolutionise cancer care.”

Farzin Farzaneh from Dulwich was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2015. He decided to have his DNA sequenced to help future generations. Talking about his involvement in the project he said, “I decided to have my DNA sequenced as I felt it was important to help develop a more thorough understanding of this cancer in general and my own cancer in particular. I know the information provided by sequencing the DNA in my tumour may help to optimize my own treatment if it comes back.

“More importantly, the information obtained could help identify whether my children will be at greater than average risk of developing cancer. If this happens to be the case, they could then be monitored more closely, and early detection would offer them more effective treatment options.

“The information obtained by the 100,000 genome project may turn out to be of direct benefit to me and to my children, and to help create a legacy for generations to come.”

The genome is the genetic code in DNA. It contains the information for about 20,000 genes. People inherit a copy of the genome from each parent and it contains the information needed to make every part of the body. The small differences in genomes are what make people unique.

The 100,000 Genomes Project is being carried out on a scale not seen before anywhere else in the world. It aims to decode 100,000 human genomes in order to create a new genomic medicine service in the NHS to enhance our understanding of diseases, and potentially change the way we treat patients.


For further information please contact:
Karen Welsh
Acting Head of Communications
karen.welsh2@nhs.net
Extension: +44 (0)20 3299 3850

Notes to editors

1. King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma. On 1 October 2013, King’s took over the running of the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley and Orpington Hospital, as well as some services at Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. The new enlarged organisation has over 10,500 staff and provides over 1 million patient contacts a year. 9,000 babies are delivered by our hospitals each year, and over 750 patients come to our Emergency Departments every day. For more information, please visit the website. You can also support the work of King’s College Hospital at http://www.supportkings.org.uk/

2. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.

King’s Health Partners is one of only six Department of Health-designated AHSCs in England and brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our partnership brings together...

  • three of the UK’s leading NHS Foundation Trusts;
  • one of the top 30 universities in the world;
  • services provided over 225 locations, including seven hospitals and community and mental health centres;
  • 2.2 million patient contacts each year;
  • 31,000 staff;
  • 25,000 students;
  • a combined annual turnover of £2.8bn.

... to advance health and wellbeing by integrating world-class research, care and teaching.

3. At King’s College Hospital we fundraise for the best in treatment, research and health education, leading-edge equipment and improving well-being in our communities. By uniting doctors, nurses, researchers and academics with our supporters and volunteers we can provide the best patient care that goes above and beyond. Find out more and support us at http://www.supportkings.org.uk/