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14 July, 2016 - 10:26 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge startup wins key role with UK genomics lab

geneadviser, genetic testing, cambridge

Just five months after launch, Cambridge startup GeneAdviser has secured a new partnership with a leading UK genomics laboratory to help fight breast and ovarian cancer.

The deal with TGclinical (Translational Genomics Laboratory) offers clinical grade testing to investigate mutations in the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes, which are linked to the cancers.

TGLclinical is embedded within the Joint Clinical Academic Unit of the Division of Genetics & Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Clinical Cancer Genetics Unit at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

The laboratory has longstanding expertise in assessing the nature of mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which every year cause 20 per cent of familial breast cancers and some 14 per cent of ovarian cancer in the UK.

Jelena Aleksic, CEO of GeneAdviser, said: “We are thrilled to announce the new partnership between GeneAdviser and TGLclinical. Professor Nazneen Rahman’s team brings 20 years of experience of BRCA research.

“We are particularly impressed with the combination of clinical skill and comprehensive functional genomics research that has gone into building up their database of BRCA variants. The cancer testing they offer is high quality and comprehensive.”

Being able to detect which ovarian cancers are caused by a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is crucial for patients to receive not only the right treatment and follow up, but also to investigate their family’s risks.

As these mutations are highly heritable, identifying them allows for genetic testing and cancer prevention strategies to be offered to the patient’s relatives. Professor Rahman, director of the TGLclinical lab and head of the Genetics and Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with GeneAdviser who have created a secure online platform that will let the wider medical community have access to the expert, affordable gene testing we have implemented at the Royal Marsden. This will allow many more patients to benefit from our work.”

With this partnership, GeneAdviser continues to expand its ordering platform which enables doctors worldwide to search for genetic tests from a growing network of clinically accredited laboratories.

The service also allows NHS doctors to log in and place NHS patient orders through the system with no extra cost. In March, Jelena Aleksic was named inaugural winner of the Business Weekly/Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Award for the impressive engagement she had engineered for GeneAdviser with medics and clinics in the UK and internationally.

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