NICE to recruit specialists to advise on assessment of breast cancer test
Recruitment is underway for five specialists to join NICE's Diagnostics Advisory Committee as it considers the clinical and cost effectiveness of a DNA based biochip assay which examines breast cancer tumour markers. Randox Breast Cancer Array (BCA) uses a biochip to analyse 23 genes simultaneously in order to define the clinical sub-groups of breast tumours. The assessment of Randox BCA may be expanded during the scoping phase to include other multi-gene expression tests for the sub-typing of breast cancer.
The presence of certain genes in the tumour cells informs the classification of breast cancer into Basal-type, Luminal A/B-type and ErbB2/HER2-type molecular subclasses. As such, Randox BCA and other multi-gene expression tests could be used as an alternative or in addition to traditional immunohistochemical analysis for the sub-typing of breast cancer. As well as potentially assisting clinical decision making, including treatment planning and ongoing cancer management, it is claimed that the gene expression signature of the tumour cell can be used to predict the risk of recurrence of breast cancer following surgery.
NICE is currently recruiting healthcare professionals who have a good knowledge of the issues around the diagnosis and management of breast cancer to join the independent Diagnostics Advisory Committee as specialist members for this topic.
Professor Adrian Newland, Chair of the independent Diagnostics Advisory Committee, said: “This technology may provide a number of potential benefits both to healthcare professionals who carry out diagnostic tests, and to patients with breast cancer whose treatment will depend on the type of tumour they have. For example, because the sample is analysed as a whole, expression of up to 23 genetic markers is determined in parallel, potentially decreasing the number of samples needed and therefore the time taken for diagnosis. The technology also claims to be user friendly and easy to perform, unlike most other assays, which require a trained clinical pathologist to interpret the results. It will be the job of the Diagnostics Advisory Committee, including its specialist members, to assess all the available evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of this technology and make recommendations on whether, and if so how, it might be used in the NHS in England.”
The deadline for applications for specialist Committee membership for this topic is 4 February 2011.
Notes to editors
About NICE's diagnostics assessment programme
1. Further information about the NICE diagnostics assessment programme can be found at:
2. Topics to be considered will be routed through the related Evaluation Pathway Programme for Medical Technologies. Further information about this can be found here:
About NICE's Diagnostics Advisory Committee
3. The Diagnostics Advisory Committee considers and interprets evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of diagnostic technologies as defined in the relevant EU directives, and formulates recommendations to NICE on their use in the NHS.
4. Diagnostic technologies within the Committee's remit include pathological tests, imaging, endoscopy and physiological measurement. NICE considers diagnostic technologies used for various purposes including diagnosis, clinical monitoring, screening (not population screening programmes), treatment triage, assessing stages of disease progression, and risk stratification.
5. Committee membership consists of 22 standing members (professional and lay) with knowledge of diagnostics and medical technologies assessment, and a number of temporary specialist Committee members with knowledge of the topic under consideration. It is these specialist Committee members that are currently being recruited.
6. Specialist Committee members are drawn from the NHS, healthcare professionals, patients and/or carers and academia. They do not represent their organisations but are selected for their expertise on the current topic, experience of working with multidisciplinary and lay colleagues, and understanding of evidence based healthcare.
7. NICE is seeking specialist Committee members for its assessment of Randox Breast Cancer Assay with the following backgrounds/expertise:
- Clinical Oncologist - a specialist interest or sub-specialism in cancer genetics is preferred but not essential
- Medical Oncologist - a specialist interest or sub-specialism in cancer genetics is preferred but not essential
- Nurse specialist
- Clinical Geneticist or Medical Geneticist - a specialist interest or sub-specialism in cancer genetics is preferred
Specialist Committee members are expected to have a good knowledge of the issues around the diagnosis and management of breast cancer, but not necessarily have experience using Randox Breast Cancer Assay.
8. Standing members and specialist members of the Committee have equal status, which reflects the relevance and importance of their different expertise and experience.
9. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health
10. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
11. NICE produces standards for patient care:
- quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
- Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients
12. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.
This page was last updated: 06 January 2011