NHS England offers new blood test to avoid toxic side effects of chemotherapy

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Certain cancer patients in England will be offered a new blood test that aims to tailor treatments to their genetics in a bid to avoid toxic side-effects, reports INews.

Test results will reveal whether a patient is more like to suffer effects, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, breathlessness and severe skin reactions, enabling them to decide whether an alternative method of treatment may be more appropriate.

Of nearly 40,000 people who undergo chemotherapy each year with a collection of drugs called fluoropyrimidines, up to 40 per cent may suffer severe reactions to their treatment, with one per cent proving fatal.

The test, which was previously only available at a small number of hospitals, is now being rolled out across the country by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Professor Dame Sue Hill, chief scientific officer for England and senior officer for genomics at NHS England, said the rollout marks “an important moment” for how genomics can improve the safety of cancer treatments.

“As our understanding of the role our DNA plays in disease grows, we will be able to use this approach to help develop personalised treatments for other conditions and embed genomics into routine care,” she said.

 

Full INews report

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