NHS England have launched a genetic testing programme targeting tens of thousands of people with Jewish ancestry who are more likely to carry a genetic fault that can increase the risk of developing some cancers.
The NHS Jewish BRCA Testing Programme is part of the NHS’ major drive to detect cancer early when it is easier to treat. The programme, which will run over three years, will see anyone over the age of 18 with Jewish ancestry offered a simple genetic saliva test to look for the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 faults, which increases the likelihood of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
It is estimated that a fault in one of the BRCA genes affects around one in 40 Jewish people compared with one in 250 in the general population. Up to four in 10 ovarian cancers and one in 10 breast cancers in the Jewish community are caused by a BRCA mutation, but 90% of Jewish BRCA carriers are unaware they carry it.
The saliva samples will be carried out at home and then be sent to labs for testing, including Informed Genomics Limited’s UKAS ISO 15189 accredited cancer genetic testing lab, which will use Illumina’s sequencing technology to process up to 1,000 samples each month.
Commenting on Informed Genomics’ involvement in the programme, Chief Executive Officer Simon Davis said: “We’re delighted to support NHS England in this landmark programme, being the only private lab brought on board to increase capacity to meet the demand seen in pilot programmes in a cost-effective and efficient way. This programme epitomises our mission to provide accessible genomic testing, enabling earlier diagnosis, personalised treatments and improved patient outcomes.”
Full information on the NHS Jewish BRCA Testing Programme can be found here.
For media enquiries, please contact Informed Genomics Limited’s PR team:
Rachel Gonzaga (07918 590 166)