Genomics is divided into three sections. The first is responsible for extraction of DNA and RNA from patient specimens. After extraction, the nucleic acids can be shipped back to the client, sent for long-term storage in Specimen Management, or used for testing in-house.
The second area is responsible for performing viral load testing. We test for the amount of free virus circulating in the patient's blood, specifically human immunodeficiency virus type 1, hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B virus.
Finally, there is the Genotyping Laboratory. This section is responsible for providing genotyping for HIV, HBV, and HCV viruses, which is important to determine if the virus infecting a patient carries mutations that are associated with resistance to anti-viral drugs. Pharmacogenetic testing is also performed in this area for mutations in several different members of the Cytochrome P450 gene family that can affect how patients will respond to different pharmaceutical compounds. The Genotyping laboratory also performs mutation analysis for the EGFR and KRAS genes. Patients with specific mutations in these genes may not respond to new classes of anticancer drugs, so these tests are critical for inclusion and exclusion of patients from these clinical trials.