As part of the project to make the Base Hospital a regional reference in cancer treatment, the central laboratory of HB will be equipped with precision genetic mapping technology, which will allow specialists to identify mutations and define the most effective treatment for each patient, optimizing the resources and increasing the service capacity provided to the population, especially users of the Unified Health System (SUS).
Last year alone, HB carried out 13,740 consultations, an average of 1,145 consultations per month – assistance that gained momentum after the adoption of telemedicine, implemented during the pandemic to enable access to specialists and preserve the health of immunosuppressed patients.
The new laboratory, which is already being structured, is a partnership between HB and the Chinese-Canadian company Geneseeq, which develops analysis equipment based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.
“Next Generation Sequencing is a DNA sequencing technique that allows you to search for multiple mutations and other genomic changes at the same time. In other words, in addition to optimizing the process, it allows for a better understanding of the disease, which makes the treatment more accurate, as we are able to identify which genomic alterations are most involved”, explains oncologist Daniel Vilarim Araújo, coordinator of the clinical oncology service at HB Onco.
Virologist Maurício Nogueira, who is coordinator of the research laboratory at Hospital de Base, points out that the new technology will allow customizing treatment according to the specifics of each patient.
“A large part of cancer cases are genetic diseases and their characteristics can interfere with the outcome of certain treatments. Sequencing allows an individualized approach to each patient. Through this broad diagnosis, we will be able to define more efficient strategies for each case, also optimizing resources”, he says.
Without the technology, the Hospital de Base needs to forward biological material from patients for analysis in other laboratories, which results in a delay in the diagnosis of people who fear the evolution of the disease.
The service is expected to be fully operational in the second half of next year.
“In this first moment, we will prioritize the analysis of the most recurrent cancers, such as breast, cervix and lung. But little by little we will expand the service to meet all diagnoses”, says Nogueira.
Jorge Fares, executive director of Funfarme, celebrates the partnership. “Our oncology specialists suggested a partnership with Geneseeq because the company is a reference in technology and research. The quality of the diagnosis is the differential that we seek to consolidate ourselves as a reference service and centralize the service to the residents of our region”, he says.
As the partnership is recent, the genetic investigation protocol has not yet been defined. That is, whether every patient diagnosed with cancer will have biological material subjected to genome mapping or whether the study will be indicated for more complex cases, with resistance to treatments.
What does the acronym NGS mean?
NGS stands for Next Generation Sequencing, also called Massively Parallel Sequencing or High-throughput Sequencing.
Different terms that refer to a group of different and modern DNA sequencing methodologies, which is the exact determination of the order in which nucleotides are found
These technologies allow DNA sequencing much faster and cheaper compared to previously used Sanger sequencing, and have revolutionized the study of genomics and molecular biology.
The NGS method sequences short DNA fragments (reads), which typically range from 50 to 300 nucleotides in length.
Although they differ considerably from each other, all NGS sequencing platforms are based on massively parallel processing of DNA fragments.
With NGS, it is possible to sequence the entire genome or just specific areas of interest, including all of the approximately 20,000 coding genes or a small number of individual genes.
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