The sensitivity of the new sequencing techniques used by GPS@WUSTL will be important for cancers, many of which are genetically unstable, notes Jeffrey Milbrandt, MD, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Professor and head of the Department of Genetics. This instability results in tumors that contain cells that are genetically different.
"It's possible that an important mutation that makes the tumor harder to kill will be present only in a small percentage of tumor cells," he says. "The new sequencing technology we're using substantially increases our chances of detecting such critical mutations."
GPS@WUSTL faculty and technicians will work in laboratories designed and maintained to meet rigorous clinical testing standards.
"All of our labs will meet the requirements of both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) certification," says Herbert W. Virgin IV, MD, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology. "Those are the gold standards of laboratory testing, and GPS@WUSTL will be among a group of relatively uncommon genetic testing services in the nation to have both of them."
Washington University's new Genome Technology Access Center (GTAC) provides the genetic data interpreted by GPS@WUSTL. Bioinformatics experts in GPS@WUSTL have built a clinical genomicist workstation that can automatically insert references to medical literature that can help doctors assess the treatment options.
"Having the system automatically start the interpretive work will help loosen a major bottleneck that has made it difficult to provide physicians with results of genomic tests in a timely fashion," says GPS@WUSTL Bioinformatics Director Rakesh Nagarajan, MD, PhD.
|Contact: Joni Westerhouse|
Washington University School of Medicine