February 2024

Pioneering Cancer Treatments through Enhanced Genomic Profiling

In the face of a rising global cancer crisis, with a death toll of 1.3 million* in 2020 and an anticipated 32% increase in cases by 2040** in Europe, the accurate profiling of cancer's genetic makeup is a critical tool in its treatment.

Increasingly, genomic profiling is being used to advance cancer treatment, utilising detailed genetic mapping to enable earlier diagnoses and personalised therapies. The essence of this lies in genome sequencing, notably through techniques such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), which provide key insights about the nature of the disease. However, the analytical complexity of genome sequencing introduces significant uncertainties. Metrology (measurement science) is fundamental to overcome these challenges and provide confidence in data to support timely access to accurate cancer diagnostics and therapies.

The National Measurement Laboratory at LGC (NML at LGC) is collaborating with partners across Europe on a new research project (GenomeMET) under the European Partnership for Metrology which seeks to address these challenges. The consortium, led by the Instituto Nazionale Di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM – the National Measurement Institute of Italy) includes leading European metrology institutes, instrument manufacturers, EQA scheme providers, regulatory bodies, and clinical laboratories. GenomeMET is a collaborative project focussed on developing a robust metrological (measurement) infrastructure to support method validation and quality control at both the pre-analytical and analytical stages. The project will also develop reference measurement procedures for measuring genomic biomarkers. This will support improved accuracy and comparability of genomic profiling across European healthcare systems in support of Horizon Europe’s Mission on Cancer.

Beyond its clinical implications, the outcomes of the GenomeMET project have the potential to ease the economic burden of cancer, which in Europe is €141.8 billion annually (1.07 % of GDP)***, and also reduce reliance on single-use diagnostic materials, thereby contributing to a more sustainable healthcare model.

Enabling wider roll out of genomic testing is not just about tackling cancer; it’s about improving the quality of life and patient outcomes, ensuring that treatments are as unique as the individuals receiving them.

“We hope that GenomeMET can help improve personalized medicine and that it can be the first of a series of projects aimed at improving NGS protocols” said Carla Divieto, the project coordinator. By embedding metrology within genomic profiling, this project will support earlier and more accurate cancer diagnosis, alongside tailored treatment strategies, marking a significant stride towards a future where cancer treatment is not just a standard procedure but a personalised journey towards recovery.

For more information on the GenomeMET project, please visit www.genomemet.org and www.linkedin.com/company/genomemet/. Further inquiries or engagement opportunities can be directed to Carla Divieto (c.divieto@inrim.it) and Carole Foy (Carole.Foy@lgcgroup.com).

NML’s participation in the GenomeMET project is supported by UKRI via the Horizon Europe Guarantee Scheme.

Data explorer | ECIS (europa.eu)
** Data explorer | ECIS (europa.eu)
*** The Cancer Atlas. Https://Canceratlas.Cancer.Org/Taking-Action/Economic-Burden/; 2022;