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Ground-Breaking Research Wins MediWales Innovation Award


Ground-breaking research on circulating tumour DNA, which has helped lung cancer patients access novel therapies to help with their treatment, has won a prestigious MediWales innovation award.

The All Wales Genetics Laboratory team was awarded the NHS Judges Award at the 2016 MediWales Innovation Awards on 13th December 2016.MediWales

The award was presented in recognition of innovative new technology that enables non-invasive sampling of tumour DNA through a patient’s bloodstream, eliminating the need for invasive biopsy via surgery.

Laboratory staff at the University Hospital of Wales have developed and deliver a clinical service that uses circulating tumour DNA for the detection of biomarkers in a cancer patients blood sample. This enables the monitoring of a cancer patient in real-time to aid treatment decisions, and avoids invasive and costly surgical procedures.

This technology has currently been employed in clinical practice across Wales for lung cancer. Laboratory staff are now receiving requests for analysis from clinical sites across the UK. The team hope that this technology may also be developed and applied for other cancer types.

Laboratory staff worked in collaboration with clinical teams and patients across South Wales in the development and roll-out of this new clinical service.

The development and validation of this technology from a research tool to a clinical diagnostic service has taken many years and several research projects. These projects have been kindly supported by the Wales Cancer Research Centre, the Velindre Charitable Fund via its Stepping Stones Appeal and other Velindre Fundraising activities, and AstraZeneca.

Professor Peter Barrett-Lee, Medical Director for Velindre, said:

“This is a really good success story. The initiative is an excellent example of dynamic collaboration, with clinicians and academic teams working together to further advance cancer treatments, helping to minimise the impact of cancer on patients and improve the patient experience.”

Matt Temby, Director of Operations for the Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Clinical Board said:

“I’d like to congratulate the All Wales Genetics Laboratory team on receiving this award which highlights the groundbreaking research and development they undertake.

“This development means that cancer patients are monitored in real time, decisions about their treatment and care can be made faster, and they are saved from invasive procedures, offering them the most appropriate treatment and best possible outcomes.”