Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital Charity

Speeding up genetic testing  

Genetic testing changes lives, giving patients and clinicians vital data to inform treatment. At Royal Brompton Hospital, clinical scientists in the Clinical Genetics and Genomics Laboratory (CGGL) have been analysing the DNA from patients’ blood, saliva or tissue since 2015. The CGGL currently analyses 400 samples a month, a number the hospital predicts will double in the next few years.

We are delighted to contribute £103,906 towards the purchase of a new genetic sequencer for Royal Brompton Hospital – the NextSeq 2000. The NextSeq 2000 Sequencing System can sequence twice as many samples in less time than the CGGL’s current machine. Our grant will help the hospital to test more patients more quickly and carry out more genetic medical research.

  • The CGGL delivers cardiac testing for a quarter of the UK, including the whole of London, and respiratory testing for a third of the country.
  • The CGGL team analyses 5,000 samples a year.
  • 30 NHS Foundation Trusts refer patients to the CGGL for genetic testing.

Life-saving testing and research

The CGGL test for over 40 conditions, including diseases of the aorta (the largest artery in the body), heart conditions and rare respiratory conditions. Heart diseases that run in families can be caused by a single faulty gene. Genetic testing can identify family members at risk of developing the same disease, so they can be monitored and the disease caught at an early stage. 

All patients tested at RBH are given the option of having their results used in research. This creates a wealth of high-standard data for genetic researchers to identify new genes and genetic mechanisms responsible for conditions. Royal Brompton Hospital authors have published 97 genetic research papers over the past five years.

“Genetic testing saves many lives, often simply through knowing the cause of the condition and enabling people to then have appropriate therapy or devices. A new automated DNA sequencer will help us cope with an ever-increasing demand. It can run 50% more samples in a shorter space of time than the current sequencer, which will reduce the stress and anxiety for patients who are waiting for a genetic result.”

Dr Debbie Morris-Rosendahl, Head of Clinical Genetics and Genomics Laboratory

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