WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, DBENBENN
Norway’s National Cancer Consortium will sequence patients’ tumors to screen for mutations and compare drug responses, reported Nature. Three thousand tumor biopsies will be screened retrospectively, and 1,000 samples from current patients will be sequenced during the 3 year pilot phase of the project. This will be followed by a second phase in which the necessary infrastructure will be created to bring the technology to the clinic.
Eventually, scientists hope to sequence patients’ exomes—all the coding regions of a genome—to screen for cancer-related mutations. Norway’s extensive system of national health records will prove useful to clinicians comparing mutations and drug responses among patients. Efforts in other countries in Britain and the United States to exploit an individual’s genome sequence to guide treatment have pointed to several challenges, such as the lack of high quality biopsies and rapid sequencing, which Norway will need to overcome to be successful.