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This situation is a call to action.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

As of July 1, 2016, St. Baldrick’s Foundation has funded Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative with a 5-year $2.5 million grant.

The Treehouse Initiative will perform a massive comparison of each child’s cancer data and cross-reference it with more than 10,000 tumors from previous genomics projects. This huge comparison, known as pan-cancer analysis, uses big data to reveal how genomic aberrations drive cancer. The Treehouse Initiative’s comparative approach enables researchers to find hidden causes of cancer in individual patients, including targetable drivers of the cancer that may be missed when analyzing each patient’s data in isolation. This approach can suggest new precision treatments for patients whose cancer has not responded to standard therapies.

The Treehouse Initiative will aim to at least double the number of pediatric patients whose cancers are treated based on insights derived from genomic sequencing. The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute has long been a leader in open-source, big-data genomics, and the Treehouse Initiative is bringing a new level of real-time data sharing and analysis to pediatric cancer genomics.

The Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative will perform a massive comparison of each child’s cancer data.

As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them.

With the new funding from St. Baldrick’s, UC Santa Cruz will work with clinical partners that have agreed to share and jointly analyze data from pediatric patients enrolled in genomic medicine clinical trials, including  Children’s Hospital of Orange County; Stanford University, Pacific Pediatric NeuroOncology Consortium, the Pediatric Personalized Oncogenomics Program of British Columbia; and the Peds Mi-OncoSeq Program at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.

California Kids Cancer Comparison

The California Kids Cancer Comparison (CKCC) project led by the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute is one of two demonstration projects selected in 2015 by the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, a public-private effort launched by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The initiative is being hosted by UC San Francisco, in conjunction with UC Health, which comprises the University of California’s five medical centers.

Each year 500 California children with cancer either lack or fail to respond to standard therapies.

The CKCC project provides the power of large-scale bioinformatics to improve this outcome. It analyzes each patient’s tumor in the context of thousands of pediatric and adult tumors that have undergone similar characterization.

This project features an application that uploads, analyzes, and communicates genomic information and associated data among patients, advocates, clinicians, and researchers. It handles identifiable clinical and genomic data in a manner protecting patient privacy. To help rapidly bring state-of-the-art analyses to our clinical collaborators, our team includes UC researchers and physicians in partnership with biotech and computer companies.

The concept can be scaled and applied to other genetic diseases and to all the 147,000 Californians diagnosed with cancer each year.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) awarded the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute an innovation grant of $250,000 over two years to advance research on two groundbreaking approaches for identifying treatment options for children with neuroblastoma.

“Neuroblastoma is one of the most enigmatic pediatric cancers,” said postdoctoral scholar Olena Morozova, project lead for the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Project at the Genomics Institute. “Despite extensive studies of patients’ tumor DNA conducted by the NCI’s TARGET initiative and others, we still lack treatment targets for the majority of high-risk neuroblastoma patients.”

 

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation advances groundbreaking research to identify new treatment options.