Three sisters, Mary, Sandra and Kerry Lloyd all developed breast cancer within 15 months of each other. They joined the 100,000 Genomes Project at Leicester’s Hospitals, which is part of the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre. They were very keen to participate in the project – to understand more about their cancer, to understand if it was inherited and what the risks to other family members might be.
The three sisters are not the only ones affected by cancer in their family. Their late mother had also been affected, as well as two other female relatives over three generations.
They had already undergone genetic testing for changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – which can be a cause of breast cancer. But these tests didn’t find anything. The sisters donated a small amount of blood and have had their genomes sequenced. Bioinformaticians will analyse the sequences to see if there are any changes in their 3.2 billion letters of DNA code that could be a cause of their cancer.
By taking part in the 100,000 Genomes Project, the Lloyd sisters are contributing to research. Their de-identified data, together with data from other participants, is available to researchers through our secure database.
There are two ways that patients with cancer can join the project. Families with particular types of cancer in many close relatives, often at a young age, can join the programme together in the way the Lloyd sisters did, by giving blood samples.
People who have very recently been diagnosed with certain types of cancer, but don’t necessarily have a family history of cancer, are also being invited to join the Project. These patients can join by donating blood samples and a sample of their tumour.