The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation is trying to raise $900,000 to purchase the latest in genome sequencing technology.
The foundation is launching the new "Give" campaign, saying the new second-generation genome sequencing machine will help doctors fight disease at the molecular level.
Sam Grommett, a technologist, maps genetic codes for a living. He studies the very instructions that make us who we are, and sometimes cause disease.
“With next-generation sequencing, on a chip you'll be able to sequence the entire genome in an hour. Well, more than an hour, but you get the idea. Instead of years, you're talking days,” he said.
This view into the inner workings of our genetic heritage comes at a price or $900,000. When other hospital projects are also looking for money, foundation board chair Patrick Oland said this is a good choice for the 2014 Give Campaign.
“The lab is an absolutely critical part to the functioning of the hospital. And it's amazing how wide-ranging the lab is in terms of the number of departments it touches,” said Oland.
Dr. Terrance Comeau said the new equipment will help oncologists customize treatments that in themselves can be toxic or fatal.
“Once we decode the genetic abnormalities in each individual patient’s cancer, it allows us to use only that drug that’s going to kill off the cancer cells and hopefully not cause any toxicity,” he said.
Comeau said another benefit will be attracting clinical studies, giving New Brunswick patients access to cutting edge drugs.