The ultimate goal of Hartwig Medical Foundation is that every patient with – metastatic – cancer receives personalised treatment, based on the DNA of the tumor. For this goal an extensive DNA-test is used to map all characteristics of the tumor. This way a complete image of the possibilities are made available.

Hartwig Medical Foundation also gathers all genetic data and clinical information of patients in a database, which is made available for research. The data is anonomous and the database is secured.

Blood and tumor tissue

For the extensive DNA-test – based on whole genome seqeuncing – a patient in a (Dutch) participtating hospital to the CPCT-02-studie of DRUP-studie blood an tumor tissue samples are taken. This is sent to Hartwig Medical Foundation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Mapping of DNA defects

The defects in the DNA are mapped, step by step, in the laboratory and in an IT-proces by IT-specialists. This process and further improvements is the daily job of the lab technicians, bio-informatics specialists and IT specialists of Hartwig Medical Foundation.

3.2 billion letters lined up

The tumor tissue is treated first so that the DNA can be identified. Next, the DNA of the tumor tissue is ‘read’. This means that the 3.2 billion letters of the DNA of the tumor are lined up. The same happens with the DNA of the blood. Your blood’s DNA is the DNA you got at birth.

After all 3.2 billion letters from the tumor tissue and blood are lined up, they are compared with each other. This process is done with the newest machinery with the so called whole genome sequencing (WGS) technique.

The data is analysed by fast computers. The end result is a report with all DNA defects in the tumor. The treating physician receives a patient report with all data which can be relevant for treatment options.

This process from biopsy of the tumor tissue to patient report takes on average three weeks.

ISO accreditation

To this purpose Hartwig Medical Foundation uses the latest generation sequencers and robotics in combination with advanced bio-informatics data-analysis software.

The laboratory has an ISO 17025:2017 TESTING L633 accreditation. This accreditation means that all WGS laboratory tests performed at Hartwig Medical Foundation comply with internationally validated quality requirements. The most recent scope of the accreditation activities can be found at the website of the Dutch Accreditation Council, under registration number L633.

For more information please read ‘Each tumor is unique’ and take a look at the film below.

Technical process


Hartwig Medical Foundation cooperates – within the Health Deal WGS – amongst others with the following partners (in alphabetical order)

BBMRI/ Health RI, Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment (CPCT), Nederlandse Federatie van Kankerpatienten (NFK), Nederlandse Federatie Universitair Medische Centra (NFU), Nederlands Kankerinstituut/Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (Nki/AvL), Nederlandse Vereniging van artsen voor Longziekten en Tuberculose (NVALT)Nederlandse Vereniging van Ziekenhuizen (NVZ), Nederlandse Vereniging voor Medische Oncologie (NVMO), Nederlandse Vereniging voor Pathologie (NVVP), Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit (Nza), Pathologisch-Anatomisch Landelijk Geautomatiseerd Archief (PALGA), Stichting Hemato-Oncologie voor Volwassenen Nederland (HOVON), Vereniging Klinische Genetica Nederland (VKGN), ZonMW, Zorginstituut Nederland (ZiNL), Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (ZN).

The Health Deal WGS exists of a partnership of 16 organisations who want to realise innovation in Dutch Health Care under the direction of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Watch this video: What does Hartwig Medical Foundation do?