July 2016 | Iúil 2016

UCD/IEHG Precision Medicine Facility Launched

Sun, 31 July 16 12:30

The UCD/IEHG Precision Medicine Facility in UCD Conway Institute was formally launched and marks a key milestone in cancer care for University College Dublin (UCD) and the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG).  The facility provides the most comprehensive and advanced genetics platform for life science and biomedical research in Ireland and enables UCD and the IEHG provide the most advanced healthcare to its patients.

Genetics is emerging as an integral part of clinical services driven by new technology, so called next-generation sequencing (NGS) enabled by rapidly evolving computational tools. These new developments include sequencing of large panels of genes, exon sequencing and now whole genome sequencing (deep sequencing).  The new technology now available in the UCD/IEHG Precision Medicine Facility is widely applicable across a range of specialties, including cancer, cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology and rare diseases. In particular, the technology offers great promise in better targeting therapy and reducing side effects, often referred to as precision or personalised medicine.

Speaking at the launch, UCD Professor Kieran Sheahan, a consultant histopathologist in St Vincent's University Hospital said,

"By being able to look at a person's genes, we can see what causes the tumours and tailor better personalised treatments."

The facility is led by Conway Fellow, Professor Brendan Loftus, UCD School of Medicine and Director, UCD Conway Genomics Core that has been offering genomics solutions to academic and commercial customers for more than 10 years.  This launch sees the expansion of the existing genomic technologies with two Illumina Neo Prep library systems, two high-throughput Illumina Nexseq 500 sequencers and associated analysis solutions.

The Illumina Nexseq 500 is capable of performing whole-genome sequencing, exome sequencing and RNA-seq and can sequence the whole human genome in approximately 29 hours. The facility will work closely with Systems Biology Ireland and the UCD Centre for Clinical Bioinformatics to provide comprehensive analysis of the gene sequencing data, including innovative network modelling, and training of clinician and scientists in bioinformatics and genetics.

Adapted from an original article by UCD Conway Institute