All children with cancer to undergo DNA sequencing

The Telegraph reports that Children with Cancer UK have allocated £1.5million in funding which will allow every child with cancer in Britain to have their tumour DNA sequenced. This will enable them to be screened and given treatment which is far more targeted to the type of cancer.  

Sequencing tumour DNA allows doctors to match drugs specifically to the genetic code of cancer, which means that drugs to target the specific problem could be given instead of chemotherapy. The article reports that around 1,600 children under 15 are diagnosed with cancer each year, and that childhood cancer incidence rates have increased by 38% between 1966 and 2000.

Professor Louis Chesler of The Institute of Cancer Research, who is leading the initiative said:

“It is incredibly exciting and their application to children’s cancers could be ground-breaking, but only if the drugs are properly applied to patients with very precise knowledge about the unique changes in genes, proteins and cancer cells that occur in each child’s tumour. 

This funding will help us move towards a more comprehensive and structured approach to genetic testing to match children with cancer to specific targeted treatments, which could be an incredibly important step towards increasing survival and reducing the side-effects of treatment.”

The full story can be read on The Telegraph website.