Whole genome sequencing of brain tumours involves sequencing the DNA from a person’s tumour. Scientists can then identify the mutations in the DNA which may be causing the tumour. Tumour DNA is compared to DNA taken from the same person’s blood to give a comparison and identify any mutations.

Whole genome sequencing can be very beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. Give a more precise diagnosis and classification
  2. Understand and predict how a tumour may behave
  3. Enable different treatment options for better efficacy
  4. Give more detailed understanding of brain tumours
  5. Help researchers find common mutations in brain tumour subtypes


  1. Via the Tessa Jowell Brain Matrix project (funded by The Brain Tumour Charity) – see details below.
  2. Through the NHS – subject to referral. Discuss with your oncologist – if you do not qualify under the Brain Matrix, there may be alternative routes through the NHS
  3. Privately – although this could be a costly route


This study aims to establish a new pathway for standard of care using innovative technologies such as DNA sequencing.

The five-year patient-focussed study, funded by The Brain Tumour Charity, will use diagnostic tools such as imaging and DNA sequencing to collect as much data on the tumour as possible.

The study aims to create links between the operating theatre (where tumours are removed), the clinic (where patients are treated) and the research laboratories (where pioneering research happens every day), in order to put the patient at the centre of the research.

BRAIN MATRIX is integrating existing NHS infrastructure to provide quick and accurate diagnosis. By using techniques to understand the genetic make-up of each tumour, the study aims for the majority of patients to receive a detailed diagnosis within 28 days.

Initially, it is open to any adult who is newly diagnosed with a grade 2, 3 or 4 glioma, who is able to undergo a surgical procedure, including biopsy. It will also include adults with recurrent tumours if the clinical team can access an appropriate sample of their original tumour.  Please note that the trial is currently only available in 9 centres across the UK. If anyone is interested in participating, the best way to discuss participation in the trial would be with their consultant.

Click on the link below for full details of the study: