Excerpt from Today's Medical Developments
Waterjets Cut Through DNA
Cancer patients receiving treatment at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, have no idea that the same facility houses a working machine shop. This small, but wellequipped, shop plays a key role in supporting not only patient treatments, but also cancer research, in particular DNA sequencing.
The majority of work done at the shop involves producing fixturing for the hospital to position cancer patients precisely and in a repeatable fashion for different types of radiation therapy. Additionally, the shop does maintenance work for the hospital and its new in-house cyclotron, and will prototype and manufacture components for local medical research labs, including the Agency's Genome Sciences Center (GSC).
The GSC is part of a worldwide effort to use advanced DNA sequencing technology to fight cancer by understanding the unique molecular profile of individual patient tumors. This, in turn, will guide treatment by helping doctors choose which drugs to administer for chemotherapy. A key to making this a routine treatment approach is efficient preparation of DNA samples from patient tumors and normal tissue.
The GSC is all about high throughput, processing as many samples as possible, as quickly as possible. It is currently the largest gene-sequencing center in Canada, and one of t0 such facilities in the world.