Hospital tests genomic tech to speed cancer treatment

The Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System's University Medical Center will be among the first to test Life Technologies' Ion Torrent system, a next-generation gene sequencer, according to a GHS announcement.

The technology promises to identify the genetic makeup of a patient's cancer and determine the treatment--reducing the time between diagnosis and therapy to about a week.

For patients with advanced forms of cancer time is critically important, not only medically but also psychologically, Larry Gluck, medical director of cancer services at Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System, told The Greenville News.

The technology eventually will allow a full analysis in about a day for less than $1,000, compared to the $5,000 to $10,000 it costs now, Michael Bolick, president of healthcare diagnostics company Lab 21 told the paper.

Technology continues to make cancer treatment more personal and targeted and genetic testing is becoming cheaper and more accessible. Personalized medicine also has been bolstered by efforts such as NIH's genetic testing registry and organizations such as St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, which recently launched a website to share DNA sequencing data of 600 forms of pediatric cancer with other researchers.

To learn more:
- read more interviews about the project in The Greenville News article
- see the Greenville Hospital System announcement

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