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“A first of its kind in Canada,” LHSC announced Clinical Genome Centre

Patients at the London Health Sciences Centre will soon be able to access more personalized treatment options thanks to the creation of a state-of-the-art Clinical Genome Centre.
Patients at the London Health Sciences Centre will soon be able to access more personalized treatment options thanks to the creation of a state-of-the-art Clinical Genome Centre. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

Patients at the London Health Sciences Centre will soon be able to access more personalized treatment options thanks to the creation of a state-of-the-art Clinical Genome Centre.

The Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre was made possible with a $3-million gift from Archie and his late wife, Irene Verspeeten.

“The creation of the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre will have a profound effect in the lives of patients with complex diseases not only in our community but also in communities around the world,” said John MacFarlane, president and CEO of LHSC.

“It is because of Archie and Irene’s vision and deep-rooted passion to find a cure to end cancer that this Centre is possible.”

Archie Verspeeten
Archie Verspeeten. Supplied by London Health Sciences Centre

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The centre will give doctors the ability to more accurately diagnose patients, predict the progress of their disease and provide new and highly targeted treatment options.

Dr. Mike Kadour, director of pathology and laboratory medicine at LHSC, said that while individualizing patient care based on their genetics may “seem obvious,” this new centre will make it possible on a regular basis.

The centre’s initial focus will be on genomic sequencing for pancreatic cancer in conjunction with the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer because of Archie’s late wife’s battle with the disease.

“This Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre will have the ability to bring us closer to transforming fast-spreading and fatal cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, into manageable diseases and the research and knowledge gained through genomic profiling will provide valuable information that will benefit patients now and in the future,” said Dr. Bekim Sadikovic, scientific and clinical director of the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre.

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Sadikovic said the facility would be the first of its kind in Canada, combining both the research capabilities of a genome centre with the highly standardized and regulated clinical diagnostic laboratory environment.

He added that the mass amounts of data collected from the centre will be beneficial in the coming years for future care, creating large data sources for healthcare professionals.

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“The Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre will improve a patient’s journey by uncovering unique information hidden in their personal genomes,” Dr. Sadikovic said.

He said the centre will merge the standard of care with innovation.

“The Centre will allow us to push the initial standard of care, and we can be the driver that will allow others to follow,” Sadikovic said.