3 Critical Applications Of Next Generation Sequencing

Health & Medical Blog

Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a faster method of identifying the genetic sequence of cells, microbes, and other genetic material. This technology has numerous benefits in different areas of medicine.

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Among the various types of infections, antibiotic-resistant infections remain some of the most prevalent and difficult to treat. One specific infection, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) can spread quickly, especially in clinical settings, and may be difficult to manage, especially in those with a compromised immune system. With MRSA infections, doctors may suspect MRSA without a definitive diagnosis and prescribe certain antibiotics in hopes that it is effective against the infection.

NGS can make it easier to identify the specific strain of bacteria causing infection, thereby allowing faster and more effective treatment options. Additionally, in instance where an outbreak of MRSA or another infection has occurred in clinical settings, NGS can be used to trace the infection back to a single source. Identifying the source can allow the person to be quarantined and treated, which can prevent further spread of the infection.

Targeted Cancer Treatment

Many forms of cancer have specific DNA sequences that may help determine prognosis and which treatments are potentially effective for a specific patient. Using NGS for patients with cancer in the earlier stages not only helps oncologists hone-in on their unique form of cancer, but can help them choose the best option for their first-line therapy. For example, some forms of cancer respond poorly to standard chemotherapy options. If a patient is unlikely to respond to chemo, their oncologist might prefer to start with other treatment, such as radiation or immunotherapy, since these treatments may be less taxing on the patient with similar or better results. In cases where a specific form of cancer is known to respond better to certain chemotherapy drugs, the patient can start with chemotherapy that will give them the best chance at beating the disease.

Family Planning And Obstetrics

When genetic testing becomes faster and less expensive, it is more widely available to the public during the family planning stages or when they are expecting a baby. Many people have concerns about their own medical history and how this may affect their children. Knowing whether they are carriers for specific conditions that are potentially life-threatening, such as cystic fibrosis, or simply having a child that is at higher risk for conditions that have no direct genetic link but are generally considered to run in families, such as autoimmune diseases, may change a person's mind about family planning.

During pregnancy, it is important to determine if the unborn child has certain conditions that may be caused by inherited genetics or genetic mutations. Knowing this information faster can ease the mind of expectant parents or help them prepare if they are expecting a child with known genetic abnormalities or illnesses.

NGS is an important resource for analyzing the genetic components of cells. Faster testing can have significant implications for different specialties of medicine. Contact a lab, like Fry Labratories, for more help.


8 October 2017

Cancer Treatment Questions: Understanding The Differences in Options

After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.