HSA opens a molecular biology laboratory


The Health Services Authority (HSA) recently announced the opening of the Cayman Islands Molecular Biology Laboratory (CIMBL), which will perform diagnostic genome sequencing to help advance medical treatments and patient outcomes in Cayman Islands.

According to the HSA, a major benefit of the local availability of this new service is the reduction in time, cost and inconvenience for patients and families that are currently associated with sending samples overseas or traveling. expensive medical.

Currently, patients are waiting weeks to months for these results, which can delay life-changing medical interventions. Once diagnostic genome sequencing capacity is fully established on the island, it will remove the barrier of access and reduce costs for our people so they can get the tests they need.

HSA lead molecular biologist Jonathan Smellie explained.

According to the HSA, genome sequencing and molecular diagnostics have been a game-changer in healthcare, from enabling the development of PCR tests and vaccines against Sars-CoV-2 in record time or to profile the risks of genetic diseases.

“It all comes down to analyzing our DNA. With this capability, we can better understand how diseases will manifest and decide on the most effective ways to treat them,” said HSA lead molecular biologist Jonathan Smellie. Mr. Smellie explained that CIMBL will initially focus on genomic sequencing for the early diagnosis of inherited cancers in patients and will gradually expand to screening for carriers of genetic diseases.

HSA explained that genome sequencing can identify the presence of genetic variants early on and help patients know their own risk of developing cancer, allowing them to take preventative medical interventions to fully mitigate that risk. This is important because, generally, geconomic mutations leading to cancer can occur many years before a patient is diagnosed with the disease.

“This is a pioneering service that saves lives and benefits the Cayman Islands immensely,” said medical director Dr Delroy Jefferson. “Not only will we be able to provide our population with cutting-edge healthcare knowledge, but ICCPH will also catalyze the advancement of our country’s healthcare industry. Mr. Smellie and our highly qualified staff within the laboratory are dedicated and work to ensure that CIMBL provides world-class diagnostic tests for the current and future health needs of our staff.

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