All families in Sweden with a child who is diagnosed with cancer will be offered to participate in a special project within Genomic Medicine Sweden, which is financed by the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund. This project will increase knowledge on why childhood cancer occurs and improve possibilities for making a faster and more detailed diagnosis. The analyses may also enable the ability to detect targets for treatment at an early stage.
Roughly 300 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in Sweden. Today diagnostics, care and treatment of children with cancer are already well coordinated on a national level. We are now working to enable routine analysis of all genes, so called whole genome sequencing, for all types of childhood cancer. In 2020, a multicenter ethics permit was approved for the project. In 2021, the project has started operating in Sweden’s six pediatric oncology centers.
We will also develop tools to analyse and clinically interpret the genomic data that results from these analyses. In addition to whole genome sequencing, other supplementary sequencing techniques will be used. One important challenge is to perform these analyses quickly enough for the information to benefit individual children. In the long run, results from the project will also provide important knowledge about how similar analyses can be implemented for more common cancers affecting adults.
This investment in childhood cancer is funded by the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund (Barncancerfonden) and is conducted in collaboration with the Swedish Childhood Tumour Biobank (Barntumörbanken), the Nordic Childhood Leukemia Biobank (Nordiska barnleukemibiobanken), and the Swedish healthcare system.