8th September 2017

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust recognised for pioneering lung cancer service

New test enables Trust to ‘lead the way’ in providing lung cancer services to patients

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) has been highly commended for a new service that can detect gene mutations in tumour DNA in blood and give new choices to lung cancer patients.

In a region which has a higher incidence of lung cancer than the English average (90.6 vs 79.8 per 100,000), the pioneering approach has been introduced by the Trust’s renowned cancer diagnostics laboratory to give more patients, locally and right across the UK, access to life changing drugs that have fewer side-effects than classic chemotherapy. In this way, UHB is enabling many more patients to have a better quality of life despite their disease.

Traditionally, lung cancer diagnosis has relied solely on a sample of lung tissue being taken from the patient (lung biopsy), an invasive procedure which many patients are too unwell to tolerate. The new blood test (liquid biopsy), created by Roche Diagnostics, is being used alongside or instead of the lung biopsy (in cases where a lung biopsy cannot be performed) to identify genetic abnormalities in the EGFR gene associated with lung cancer. Roche’s test is highly specific and its results can be used to predict a patient’s response to treatment, allowing doctors to rapidly prescribe tailored medicines that offer a higher quality of life during treatment.

The new service offered by UHB has been highly commended by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network as part of its Advanced Diagnostics, Genomics and Precision Medicine Award.  The awards celebrate the work of organisations in developing better healthcare and economic benefit for the West Midlands region.

Dr Phillipe Taniere, Consultant Histopathologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHSFT which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, said:

“We are delighted to be providing such an advanced service to help patients get the treatment they need quickly and with just a blood test. UHB is truly leading the way in diagnostic capabilities in the region and the UK. Identifying mutations in blood samples has historically been a challenge due to the low frequency of cancerous cells in the sample but this new, powerful technology from Roche Diagnostics has made it possible to take a simple blood sample and rapidly identify mutations in the tumour’s DNA. ”

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For further information, contact:

Emily Fisher: emily.fisher@fourcommunications.com / 020 3697 4378

Background Information

Latest statistics from Cancer Research UK show there were 46,400 new cases of lung cancer, the third most common cancer in the UK, in 2014. In the region served by NHS Birmingham South and Central CCG, the incidence (at 90.6 per 100,000) is higher than the English average (79.8 per 100,000).

The test is a true gatekeeper for molecular therapies targeting EGFR abnormalities; identifies with fast turnaround patients eligible for targeted therapy, sparing them chemotherapy and the associated side effects. 

About the cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 CE-IVD

The cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 CE-IVD, identifies the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene in the DNA from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and is intended to be used as an aid in selecting patients with NSCLC for therapy with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).

This innovative assay from Roche Molecular Diagnostics is the first to utilize plasma in addition to tissue as a sample type, thus removing common barriers to molecular testing, including surgery risks and sample availability. With clear, actionable results, the cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 CE-IVD gives clinicians the information needed to make confident treatment decisions.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Twenty-nine medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry eight years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2016 employed more than 94,000 people worldwide. In 2016, Roche invested CHF 9.9 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 50.6 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

About University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

UHB runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and the original Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and hosts the Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM)

The Trust has approximately 1,400 beds, 32 theatres and a 100-bedded critical care until - the largest in Europe

The hospitals are a regional centre for trauma, burns, plastics, neurosciences and cancer and in 2014 became a lead genomics centre as part of the NHS 100,000 genomes project

UHB has the largest solid organ transplantation programme in Europe

In 2016/17, UHB cared for over 1 million patients and currently employs over 9,500 members of staff

UHB is a Foundation Trust and has over 23,000 members

UHB is proud to host the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM). The RCDM provides dedicated training for defence personnel and is a focus for medical research.

UHB also holds the contract for providing medical services to military personnel evacuated from overseas via the aero medical service. UHB is one of only a small number of hospitals that can provide the full range of medical specialties – trauma, burns, plastics, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, critical care - needed to treat the complex nature of conflict injuries, all under one roof.

The pioneering techniques in surgery and pain control that we have developed whilst treating military patients are recognised worldwide. These techniques are now being used for civilian surgery in the UK and elsewhere and are being progressed through the Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC).