I’ve just attended an excellent two-day conference of the Joint UK Cancer Cytogenetics Group and Centre for Haemato-Oncology, hosted at the Newcastle University Medical School. This is the 32nd conference of this group! The conference showed the great adoption of RainDance products among opinion leaders for the next generation of prognostic and diagnostic testing for leukemias.
A presentation by Alex Kohlmann of the Munich Leukemia Laboratory described the high-throughput implementation of targeted next generation sequencing, focusing on the RainDance ThunderStorm™ System. Alex described a truly optimized, high-throughput implementation of several gene panels for clinical analysis of many thousands of patient samples with haematological malignancies. The audience of around 100 people heard how MLL is now offering this test as part of their routine testing and using it with an Illumina MiSeq sequencer. The MLL has very high standards, and Alex was very positive about his experience with RainDance, including the rapid technical and scientific support he has received.
Matthew Smith from Birmingham Women’s Hospital described his work comparing SureSelect and Haloplex for target enrichment of a gene panel for solid tumors. He managed to get some reasonable data with SureSelect, but struggled with uniformity and coverage of Haloplex. Even with SureSelect, the off-target reads were greater than 50 percent and significant over-sequencing was required to get to high enough coverage for clinical utility. Matthew also mentioned the multi-gene leukemia RainDance panel — preliminary results are currently in data analysis at Birmingham.
Christopher Campbell, also from Birmingham Women’s Hospital, described their implementation of droplet digital PCR. He spoke about Bio-Rad QX100 data and compared it to data generated using the RainDance RainDrop™ System. One particular assay performed OK with the Bio-Rad technology but showed much higher quality and sensitivity on the RainDrop. Christopher is also implementing a BCR-ABL assay on the RainDrop, with very promising initial sensitivity, and plans to offer this in routine clinical testing. He finally discussed his future reality – discovery of patient-specific mutations using targeted sequencing followed by patient-specific residual disease monitoring using digital PCR. Mike Griffiths, who leads the Birmingham lab, strongly supported this view in informal dinner discussion.
The closing lecture was presented by Prof. Helene Cave, from the Hospital Robert deBre in Paris. She described a number of different molecular testing modalities. Prof. Cave is soon starting sequencing using her newly acquired RainDance RDT-1000. Next year, we should expect to see an equally impressive talk focused on the work she is planning with RainDance-enabled targeted sequencing.
— Andrew Watson