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Inside the Lab Oncology, Training and education, Histology, Biochemistry and molecular biology, Companion diagnostics, Precision medicine

Companion Diagnostics Champions

The Magnificent Seven. The Avengers. The A-Team. Fiction, and often reality, are rich with examples of teams that use the unique abilities of their members to accomplish much more together than they could have done alone. This year in Dorset, UK, three very different groups in the healthcare arena are teaming up and pooling their talents to tackle a huge challenge facing pathology and healthcare: the development, standardization, and dissemination of companion diagnostics for cancer therapies.

Targeted cancer treatment is currently one of the most exciting and fastest-growing areas in healthcare, and as therapy options expand, so too do the range of corresponding tests needed to guide oncologists down the correct treatment path. But with the deluge of new diagnostics and treatments, it’s understandable that pathologists and clinicians alike might have trouble keeping up to date. The constant threat of diminishing finances is also ever present, and these challenges combined can lead to slow uptake of new tests, concerns regarding their proper use and interpretation – and ultimately, failure to deliver the optimal treatment to patients.

Enter the Poundbury Cancer Institute (PCI); a center specializing in companion diagnostics for targeted treatment. PCI opened its doors in May of this year, with high hopes of positively impacting the companion diagnostics landscape through research and education. And within its walls, an ambitious collaboration is taking place between the UK National Health Service (NHS), industry, and quality assurance services.

In the following series of articles we speak with key members of this diagnostic development trio: Corrado D’Arrigo, pathologist and co-founder of PCI; Keith Miller, quality assurance expert; and Christopher Hudson, Roche UK Director of Tissue Diagnostics. All three aim to merge their know-how and resources to accelerate the acceptance of companion diagnostics in labs around the UK. But can industry and a national health service work alongside each other in harmony or through gritted teeth…?

Putting Pathology at the Heart

By Corrado D’Arrigo

Poundbury Cancer Institute aims to put pathology at the forefront of cancer research, and bring industry, national healthcare service and quality assurance together to expand the use of companion diagnostics and important biological markers.

Industry Insights

Christopher Hudson is Director of Tissue Diagnostics UK and Ireland at Roche, the multinational life sciences company that supports the Poundbury Cancer Institute through funding and research collaboration.

Quantifying Quality

Keith Miller is Director and co-founder of CADQAS (Cancer Diagnostic Quality Assurance Services), a not-for-profit community interest company hosted by Poundbury Cancer Institute (PCI), which works to provide information and training to laboratory staff, and to ensure the quality of cancer diagnostics.

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About the Author
Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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