NantHealth, a next-generation, evidence-based, personalized healthcare company, the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine and the collaborators of the Pediatric Cancer MoonShot 2020 are embarking on one of the world’s most ambitious pediatric sequencing discovery projects to date. This initiative will focus on the largest killer of pediatric cancer patients today: childhood brain tumors.
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Project, the first project of Pediatric Cancer MoonShot 2020, brings together the Childhood Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Hyundai Cancer Genomic Program at CHOC Children’s Hospital to perform approximately 4,800 whole genome tumor normal RNA analyses for 1,600 children diagnosed with brain tumors. The project is expected to take just six months to complete. This large library and enormous fount of information will be made publicly available to all researchers, nationally and internationally, so they can benefit from this data trove. The ultimate goal of the project is to discover insights that lead to improved treatments and ultimately improved outcomes and quality of life for pediatric brain tumor patients.
“There are 28,000 children age 0-18 with brain tumors in the U.S. Over 4,600 children are newly diagnosed each year,” stated Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of NantWorks and leader of Cancer MoonShot 2020. “It’s the leading cause of cancer related to death in children, even surpassing Leukemia. It is not only our privilege, but it's our moral imperative to act rapidly and to share the analysis of this large tumor atlas with the scientists who can use it in the war against this deadly disease.”
According to BrainTumor.org, there have only been four FDA approved drugs to treat pediatric brain tumors in the past 30 years. Between 1998 and 2014, there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs that entered the clinical trial evaluation process. Of those, 75 failed. That is a 25:1 failure ratio in developing new brain tumor treatments over the past two decades.
Dr. Lennie Sender, executive director of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer added, “There is tremendous lack of progress in the treatment of brain tumors in children, which makes this such an important project. It is the first major initiative of the pediatric consortium since its launch in Phoenix on February 18, 2015.”
“Over the last three months at CHOP, we evaluated the GPS Cancer test in six patients with brain tumors and compared them to findings on standard gene panels. Our conclusions were that this was the most comprehensive proteomic genomic analysis we have seen and provided significantly more information than current tests available. The possibility now to establish an Atlas with genomics and proteomics information will be a major advance in our fight against cancer,” said Adam C. Resnick, Ph.D., director of the Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. “A new treatment is not out of reach. This is exciting because the CBTTC (Childhood Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium) has been bio-banking tissue for years, but has lacked the necessary funding for research. “We are grateful that Dr. Soon-Shiong has made this $20 million award to bring together these important visions. I believe this is a perfect synergy of efforts to lead to discovery.”
The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine (CSSIOMM) will fund the project that is expected to cost $20 million.