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Genome BC Invests in Program to Automate Cancer Sample Prep

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genome British Columbia announced on Thursday that it is investing in an effort to develop a robotics system for automated tumor sample preparation with the goal of speeding cancer genome analysis.

The project — which is being funded with C$200,000 ($159,043) from Genome BC and the Provincial Health Services Authority — is being led by Robin Coope, instrumentation group leader at the BC Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Centre. It aims to create a system to automate the coring of tumor samples based on identified targets. The system will extract DNA and RNA from these cores, add barcodes for tracking, and perform sample prep prior to sequencing.

"The current manual process of identifying and sourcing samples can have some variation and we want to achieve high volume, automated molecular testing," Dirk Van Niekerk, cervical cancer screening program medical leader at the BC Cancer Agency, said in a statement. "Automation will revolutionize the process by significantly decreasing the turnaround time, streamlining downstream activities, and improving reproducibility and accuracy."