What is the Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics Programme?

The goal of this programme is to make genetic testing part of routine cancer patient care.

Knowledge of a person’s genetic make-up can be vitally helpful when treating cancer. Genetic tests can provide information about the cause of the cancer and can aid decisions about the best treatments and drugs to use.

Unfortunately, cancer genetic testing in the UK is currently very restricted. The aim of the Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics programme is to use new technologies to develop a single test that can analyse all genetic information relevant to cancer, much faster and cheaper, than current methods.

We will also develop the required clinical infrastructure so more patients can have genetic testing. We will undertake education and communication, so the benefits and implications of genetic testing in cancer patients are better recognised.

The programme will directly lead to many more cancer patients being able to benefit from genetic testing. It will lay the foundations so every cancer patient can have access to genetic testing.

The programme is being led by the Institute of Cancer Research in partnership with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the Wellcome Trust. The programme will run for three years from 2013-2016.

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Gene testing for women with ovarian cancer

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD). WOCD began in 2013 to unite ovarian cancer organisations from around the world to educate their communities about ovarian cancer.

Improving access to gene testing for all women affected with ovarian cancer is a key focus of the Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics (MCG) programme, which aims to make genetic testing part of routine cancer patient care.

In order to help achieve this, the programme has developed a flexible, patient-centred model for gene testing, which is faster and less costly than traditional models. The ‘mainstream’ gene testing model brings the test directly to the patient through routine oncology appointments, allowing more people with cancer, and their families, to benefit.

Approximately 15% of ovarian cancers are due to a mutation in the cancer predisposition genes BRCA1 or BRCA2. Knowing whether or not a person has a mutation provides vital information about the cause of cancer, risks of developing future cancers and can aid decisions about the best treatments and drugs to use. It also provides important information about risks to relatives.

The ‘mainstream’ model of gene testing has been in operation at the Royal Marsden since July 2013, and over 125 women with ovarian cancer have now benefitted from BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing.

Every woman who was offered a BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene test accepted it, and when surveyed all were pleased they had the gene test. 98% of those surveyed said they were happy to have the gene test at one of their existing oncology appointments.

Plans are now underway to roll out the ‘mainstream’ model of gene testing to other NHS centres so many more women with ovarian cancer can benefit.

  1. Delivering change in cancer gene testing to benefit many more cancer patients Leave a reply
  2. ‘How Gene Testing Can Help People With Cancer’ – A Consultation with UK Cancer Charities Leave a reply
  3. 100 ovarian cancer patients benefit from BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests through new ‘oncogenetic’ pathway Leave a reply
  4. Consultation with UK cancer charities Leave a reply
  5. First 50 Ovarian Cancer patients receive BRCA tests via oncology Leave a reply
  6. Consultation with UK Cancer Genetic Centres Leave a reply
  7. Integrating Cancer Genetics into Routine Clinical Practice Information Day Leave a reply