St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital completed the first whole-genome sequencing of cancer survivors and the conclusions where that 12% of childhood cancer survivors carry germline mutations that put them at increased risk of developing cancer later in life.
Researchers recommended expanding genetic screening and counseling to:
Childhood cancer survivors who have been diagnosed with second cancers and whose pediatric cancer treatment did not include radiation therapy.
Survivors whose initial treatment included radiation therapy and who have developed secondary breast cancer, thyroid cancer or sarcomas at the radiation treatment sites.
The findings will help to design personalized therapy, understand better the disease and early detection of second cancers based on the genetic profiles of children diagnosed with cancer.
In this video, Leslie Robison, chair of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, discusses the genetic sequencing of St. Jude LIFE cohort of childhood cancer survivors and the implications of the project.
Also, researchers at the University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that identifying mutations present in tumor tissue allows precision oncology to determine better treatment options for each patient using individualized genetic information.
In this video of Precision Oncology, we see Rajen Mody, MD explaining the importance of genetic sequencing for childhood cancer.
The Pediatric Cancer Genetic Risk Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center also offers individualized programs to reduce the risks of primary or secondary tumors. Here is the story of Amy Kindstedt a 9-year-old child diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), a rare tumor of the lung and how the genetic counseling helped her brother to an early detection and treatment of the same type of cancer.
These new methods are improving the survivor rates of kids with cancer. The earlier its done the better chance of identifying the right therapy before they develop resistance and early detection of second cancers.
Ask your doctor for a referral to a genetic counselor.