Genelab by ABC is the first laboratory in the Algarve providing genetic tests for the detection of rare diseases, which contributes to the improvement of medical science and at the same time meets the patients’ needs in the region. This project by the Algarve Biomedical Center (ABC) is taking shape and will be available to the public in January 2022.

Until now, without this service, the Algarve and Alentejo were dependent on other laboratory centres in the country, ending up increasing the pressure on them. This new service will provide more comfort to patients and will ease the pressure of services from other centres across the country.

In fact, this laboratory will be prepared to find out more than a thousand genetic and rare diseases in medical specialties, such as cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, neuromuscular diseases, among many others that may be associated with a genetic mutation that can only be discovered through this high-level technology.

Technology to change cancer treatments

In addition, this is a great advance in oncology. These tests will ensure a better quality of life for patients, as physicians will be able to decide which sort of treatment is best suited to the pace of disease progression.

“In terms of oncology, we can find out if the patient is high risk and then decide whether we should have more aggressive therapy, or if the patient is low risk and we should just wait and see. With this approach, the results for the patient are completely different, not only in terms of survival rate but also in terms of quality of life, as we are not exposing the person to aggressive treatments in cases where we can have better options”, said Dr. Nuno Marques, cardiologist and president of ABC.

Open to the public

One of the most interesting points of this new laboratory is that they are not only at the service of hospitals but also open to the general population, which means that to carry out these tests you can go directly to the lab and schedule your screening.

“Normally it would not be possible to do this because no one, who is not an expert, can interpret this type of test. However, we will have a team of specialists in the area available to monitor the patients, assess the person and indicate whether or not it is worth requesting the exam”. Otherwise, whoever wants to take these tests would have to first go through an appointment with a hospital specialist.

Dr. Nuno Marques highlighted the importance of having a team of specialists, noting that this team will also be available to assist the hospital's doctors who request their help in order to discuss each case in a multidisciplinary way.

This new laboratory has the collaboration of the Spanish Group Health in Code, which has "the largest database in the world that makes the relationship between a specific mutation and what can happen to the patient due to it", according to Dr. Nuno Marques.

From January 2022, this laboratory will start working at the University of Algarve (Gambelas) “because it is urgently needed to meet the population’s needs”, but in the future, it will move to a new building in Loulé that is currently under construction.