GMS Childhood Cancer Project awarded Guldpillret
In 2021 Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) launched its Childhood Cancer Project in close collaboration with the Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank and the SciLifeLab Clinical Genomics platform. The project offers all children diagnosed with cancer, a combined whole genome and transcriptome sequencing in order to increase knowledge on why childhood cancer emerges and improve possibilities for making a faster and more detailed diagnosis, potentially leading to tailored treatment.
Now, the project has been awarded with “Guldpillret”, an award that highlights the need for better and safer drug use, in order to minimize the risk of drug related injuries. The prize was founded by The Swedish Pharmaceutical Insurance, and is awarded in collaboration with Dagens Medicin.
Around 350 Swedish children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Diagnostics, care and treatment are provided at six regional children’s cancer centers and well coordinated on a national level. In order to optimize treatments and learn more about childhood cancer, Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) and the Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank initiated a collaboration with the SciLifeLab Clinical Genomics platform in 2020, to make multi-modal analysis using a combination of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and whole-transcriptome sequencing (WTS) standard practice for all diagnosed children in Sweden.
GMS and the Clinical Genomics platform also develop tools that can interpret the genomic data generated from these analyses.
“We have been adapting our wet-lab and bioinformatic processes as well as interpretation tools to support these types of prospective studies with real-time analyses that enable the information to be available in time frames relevant for the care of the individual patient. The methods developed in this project will also be used for similar analyses of more common cancers affecting adults”, says Valtteri Wirta (Karolinska Institutet), Platform Scientific Director at SciLifeLab Clinical Genomics Stockholm.
“The most important thing for us is that Guldpillret is a recognition that our project is something that is actually practically useful. It is a very technically advanced project that had the purpose of benefiting the patients and it is nice to get confirmation of that from the outside as well, says David Gisselsson Nord, Professor of Molecular Pathology at Lund University and national coordinator for the project, in a press release from Dagens Medicin (Swedish).
He summarizes the results of the project as: “Surprising”.
“We have had surprisingly great use of our genetic data. It was strikingly often that it could be utilized to support a certain diagnosis or make us rethink and make another one, just by looking at a tumor’s genetic material”.
Today, the number of patients included in the project is approaching 300. The project will continue for a few more years to establish evidence enabling transition from a grant-based funding to public healthcare funded diagnostic assay in clinical routine practice.
The childhood cancer project is funded by the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund (Barncancerfonden) and The Ministry of Social Affairs and is conducted in collaboration with the Swedish Childhood Tumour Biobank (Barntumörbanken), the Nordic Childhood Leukemia Biobank (Nordiska barnleukemibiobanken), and the Swedish healthcare system.
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