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Tumour Profiling Unit

The Tumour Profiling Unit (TPU) was established in 2013 to carry out state-of-the-art research on the genetics and molecular biology of cancers, and use that knowledge in new targeted and personalised approaches to treatment. Researchers at the unit work with scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research and external academic groups to classify tumours by their genetics, and find ways of personalising treatment to the particular mutations that are driving them.

Dr Amanda Swain is head of the Tumour Profiling Unit

 Dr Amanda Swain, head of the Tumour Profiling Unit.

The TPU uses the latest next-generation genetic sequencing technologies – such as a HiSeq2500 sequencer from Illumina, and Ion Proton and PGM sequencers from Life Technologies – to carry out genomic profiling of tumours. Its highly qualified staff can provide academic groups with tailored advice on experimental design, or carry out projects from beginning to end, delivering reliable and customisable solutions for different cancer genomics projects.


Genomics capabilities

The genomics facility within the TPU works under Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice (GCLP) and ISO 15189:2012 guidelines to provide next-generation sequencing of tumours. The unit has a strong focus on cancer biology and clinical treatment, and its experimental workflows include the ability to sequence and analyse formalin-fixed paraffin embedded samples (FFPE), minimal amounts of DNA/RNA samples (30–50 ng), analysis of tumour clonal heterogeneity, cfDNA and drug resistance.

The TPU has the capacity to undertake large projects (ExomeSeq and WGS) and smaller-scale projects, such as target resequencing and analysis of amplicons. It uses a dedicated 480-core, high-performance computing cluster to analyse sequencing data. Automated analysis pipelines are available for whole genome, exome and transcriptome sequencing, built around standard, open-source software. The bioinformatics team at the TPU also has the experience necessary to perform custom analyses and integration of sequencing data sets.

ICR On BBC Panorama

An episode of Panorama focused entirely on the pioneering work of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust aired on BBC One.

Division of Molecular Pathology

The division is focused on understanding the molecular alterations important in the development and progression of cancer, and in determining how the disease responds to treatment.

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