NE&Y Haemato-Oncology GLH Virtual Symposium 2021

Decorative image of abstract gene-related design

The first GLH symposium for Haemato-Oncology was held virtually on the afternoon of June 21 and fulfilled the goals of bringing together clinicians, scientists and health service managers across the NE&Y region to learn more about both ‘routine’ and ‘groundbreaking’ molecular technologies being developed in our NHS services across the region.

The symposium also linked in national representatives from the British Society of Haematology (BSH) and Intercollegiate Committee on Haematology to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Pathologists.

The symposium was introduced with a comprehensive summary of the infrastructure of the GLH and Haem-onc ‘ecosystem’ across the NE&Y region – from Specialised Integrated Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Services (SIMHDS) to the Genomic Tumour Advisory Board (GTAB) to clinical MDTs and patient treatment – and how the evolving NEY GLH services for Genomics are fitting neatly into the work of the three well-established SIHMDS in Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.

Thereafter talks covered ‘hot topics’ including the recently launched ‘PanHaemOnc’ panel, minimal residual disease monitoring, the national test directories, specialist services for histiocytic disorders (Matt Collin) and the delivery of whole genome sequencing (WGS) along with the implications of germline analysis (Jackie Cook) and skin biopsies (Tom King) on haematological services.

A highlight of the afternoon was a ‘Virtual GTAB’ in which an expert panel chaired by Chris Bacon (with Kate Pearce, Anjum Khan, Andrew McGregor, Gavin Cuthbert, Sebastian Francis, Josh Willoughby and Chris Lethaby) demonstrated the inner workings and thought processes surrounding interpretation and finalisation of WGS ‘real-life’ results reporting from the GTAB (as happens routinely now every Monday morning).

We hope the informative presentations and lively discussions left attendees understanding what genomics can do to help them in their practice and to impact on patient care. The result of a poll to answer the question “How long will it take WGS to be valuable in haematological cancer diagnosis?” suggests this was the case, with around 60% of responders feeling that the impact would be immediate at the end of the meeting, compared to 35% at the start.

Event materials have been shared online via NHS FuturesIf you have not previously used NHS Futures you will be required to register.

We plan to repeat the meeting next year. In the meantime, the HaemOnc GLH services, including WGS of acute leukaemia and pediatric haemato-oncology patients, will continue to roll out across the region for the benefit of clinicians, scientists and, most importantly, our NHS patients.

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