Doctors at Health Sciences North in Sudbury are getting some help in making a diagnosis from a new machine that can detect genetic diseases using people’s DNA.
The hospital has had the ability to test a person's DNA for years, but pathologist Dr. Rebecca McClure said that process took days, cost thousands of dollars and scanning the DNA had to be completed in multiple labs.
"[It] really wasn't practical for looking at very much of the DNA at a time," she said, adding the new machine, known as the ION Torrent Personal Genome Machine, will eliminate these barriers.
"Now we can go in and sequence huge amounts and really see what's going on. The application for this type of sequencing is unlimited."
The machine will also help in the detection of cancer — a prospect that excites Tannys Laughren, who is with the Northern Cancer Foundation.
"The survival rates go up the earlier cancer is detected," she said.
It was the Northern Cancer Foundation that bought the machine for $120,000 — and a group of volunteers under the banner of "Angels In Pink" have promised to fundraise to pay the foundation back.
Angels in Pink have already raised funds to buy equipment that helps with the early diagnosis of breast cancer in Sudbury.