Gene lab to advance treatment for local patients

| 09/05/2022 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service
Jonathan Smellie

(CNS): The opening of the Cayman Islands Molecular Biology Laboratory (CIMBL), which will undertake diagnostic genome sequencing, will advance medical treatment and patient outcomes for people in the Cayman Islands, the Health Services Authority said in a release.

Genome sequencing and molecular diagnostics have been “game-changers in healthcare”, HSA officials said. From allowing for the development of PCR tests and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 in record time to genetic disease risk profiling, the new lab will provide lifesaving services for patients.

“It all comes down to analysing our DNA,” said HSA Principal Molecular Biologist Jonathan Smellie. “With this capability we can better understand how diseases will manifest and decide on the most effective ways to treat them.”

He explained that the lab will initially focus on genomic sequencing for the early diagnosis of hereditary cancers in patients and gradually expand into carrier screening for genetic disorders. A major advantage of this new service’s local availability is the reduction of the timeframe, cost and inconvenience for patients and families that is currently associated with sending samples overseas or having to undergo expensive medical travels.

“Currently, patients wait many weeks to months for these results, which can delay life-changing medical interventions. Once the diagnostic genome sequencing capability is fully established on-island, it will remove the barrier of access and reduce the cost for our people so they may get the testing they need,” Smellie added.

Cancer is a genetic disease and genomic mutations leading to cancer may occur many years before a patient is diagnosed with the disease. Genome sequencing can identify the presence of the genetic variants early on and help patients know their own risk for developing cancer, making it possible for them to take preventative medical interventions to mitigate that risk altogether.

“This is a lifesaving, pioneering service that tremendously benefits the Cayman Islands,” said Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson. “Not only will we be able to provide our population with cutting-edge healthcare insight, but CIMBL will also catalyze the advancement of our country’s healthcare industry. Mr Smellie and our very qualified staff within the laboratory are dedicated and working to ensure that CIMBL provides world-class diagnostic testing for our people’s current and future healthcare needs.”

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Health, Medical Health

Comments (20)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Gathering data regarding incest will likely be a side effect of this work.

    Anyone alive in Cayman when there were no cars and you had to travel by horse and buggy can attest to how common incestuous relationships. I recall a study was done on one particular district where at the result of not being able to mix with others as easily, and not wanting to mix with others particularly of a darker complexion – there were an astounding number of incestuous relationships and the district actually still reports higher numbers of birth and developmental defects than any other.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the western world, marriage between first cousins is labeled incest or inbreeding, and in the United States the practice is banned or restricted in 31 states.

      in Britain it’s actually perfectly legal for first cousins to marry. In the English upper and upper-middle classes, the prevalence of first-cousin marriage had remained steady at between 4% and 5% for much of the 19th century. (Wikipedia)

    • Anonymous says:

      From what I have heard, it is possible to have birth defects in children if the parents have even 1 common ancestor in the past 7 generations. For a small island like Cayman which only had Bowdens and Walters (changed to Watler down the line), it may be best to marry and or have kids with people from different countries.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does Cayman have genomic data protections Laws and regulations?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The increased availability of genome data has major implications for personal privacy therefore comes with security and privacy challenges as the human genome is sensitive in nature and uniquely identifies an individual.

    The leakage of this information may have serious implications if misused, as in genetic discrimination (e.g., for insurance, employment, or education) or blackmail.

    The familial aspect of genomics complicates the problems revolving around privacy. Sequenced one’s genome without asking the consent of other living family members compromises their privacy-sensitive genomic information, the scope of control that individuals and their families ought to have over the downstream of their cell.

    Thousands of people have placed their genomic data on the Web without seeking permission of their relatives.

    “Threats emerging from genomic data are only possible via the leakage of such data. Genomic data can be leaked through a reckless clinician, the IT of a hospital (e.g., through a breach of the information security), or the sequencing facility. If the storage of such data is outsourced to a third party, data can also be leaked from such a database through a hacker’s activity or a disgruntled employee. Similarly, if the genomic data is stored by the individual himself (e.g., on his smartphone), it can be leaked due to a malware.”

    One way of protecting the privacy of individuals’ genomic data is through the law or via policy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How about also mitigating risk of cancer by doing proper first world screening of our environment. Medical mitigation is fine but it doesn’t address the potential root cause(s).

    • Anonymous says:

      The Dump and Mosquito control chemicals along with many other toxic pollutants have turned Grand Cayman into cancer-promoting environment.

      • Junius says:

        Mosquito control chemicals are dispersed by air and by land.

        Not sure we’re aware what lies below the water table of the Dump.

        No doubt CIMBL is a step in the right direction and in the hands of competent professionals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yea, we need oxtitec back to actually finish the best possible new way to control pests.

      • Anonymous says:

        there is zero evidence of that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ban roundup from being imported. It is dangerously carcinogenic. Clear bush the old fashioned way.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.