The Ion Torrent Genexus Sequencer at Cork University Hospital is the first of its kind in Ireland, identifying the DNA profiles of cancers – which are then used to determine the best type of treatment to fight the disease.

The machine cost €550,000 which was raised through a variety of initiatives across Cork and beyond.

The next-generation technology uses sequencing to help speed up cancer testing, enabling patients to start their therapies and clinical trials earlier.

The machine, the single most expensive piece of equipment bought by CUH Charity, in December last year, is used to identify the DNA sequence of a cancer, which allows consultants to start a treatment plan based on the cancer’s profile.

Reiltin Werner (Chief Medical Scientist, Histopathology CUH) using the new Ion Torrent Genexus Machine bought by CUH Charity using your donations

Previously, this profiling had to be done in the UK, and during Covid, it often took eight weeks to turn around results.

These results can now be delivered within 24 hours by CUH, bringing immense potential to improve patients’ quality of life and outcomes.

Prof Seamus O’Reilly of CUH described the Ion Torrent sequencer as an “incredible purchase” and thanked everyone who supported it.

“This equipment truly will make such a difference to patients. The spirit of such events has been incredibly uplifting and morale-boosting to all of us who have the privilege of helping cancer patients,” he said.

Some of the benefits include

  1. The ability to test 32 separate specimens at a time.
  2. The ability to test for multiple genetic abnormalities in each cancer specimen at the same time.
  3. We can create a comprehensive molecular profile of a tumour from each individual patient and guide the Oncologist’s decision in their development of a truly personalised targeted approach for their individual cancer therapy.
  4. The Ion Torrent Genexus Integrated Sequencer is the first Next Generation Sequencer that automates the entire specimen to report workflow within a single day, replacing the average turnaround time presently for this testing of over 2 weeks when it is outsourced to 24 hours in-house.
  5. Having this technology to analyse for these cancer mutations is a hugely valuable clinical and research resource, enhancing our strong links with our academic partners and collaborators UCC, CIT & clinical trials Ireland and will allow ground-breaking research as well as having the immense potential to improve cancer patient quality of life and survival including options for participation in clinical trials.

We would like to thank everyone who supported this campaign from the patients who donated while undergoing treatment themselves to the community groups who went out of their way as part of the ‘Pull Together’ Campaign, including:

  • Miriam Healy and Sylvia McHenry – Pink Week Organisers
  • The Karen Fenton Ovarian Cancer Fund
  • Mick McCourt, his family and friends and work colleagues from McAfee