Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank Receives SEK 5.13 Million Grant for National Precision Medicine Project

Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank Receives SEK 5.13 Million Grant for National Precision Medicine Project
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The Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank, a national genomic biobank dedicated to the study of pediatric cancer, is instrumental in advancing research into tumors affecting children. As part of the Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) initiative focused on pediatric oncology, the Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank at Karolinska Institutet (KI), along with the Department of Oncology-Pathology, has been granted 5.13 million Swedish Krona by the state.

Under the framework of the national initiative GMS Child Cancer, comprehensive molecular genetic analyzes—including both whole genome sequencing and whole transcriptome sequencing—are conducted for clinical applications on tissue samples from children across Sweden who are presumed to have cancer.

The primary objective of the project is to enhance diagnostic accuracy and precision, thereby providing a pathway to improved treatment, ongoing monitoring, and care.

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The initiation of the GMS Child Cancer project has been made possible through a SEK 15 million endowment from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund. Following this, the organization has committed to earmark a further SEK 24 million to sustain the project from 2022 to 2026.

The Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank has been awarded funding from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund and plays a pivotal role in both coordinating and leading parts of the project, which is concurrently conducted as a research study.

The Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank not only oversees the preservation of tissue samples but also manages long-term data, ensuring that the genomic and transcriptomic data derived from these samples are accessible for ongoing research into pediatric oncology.

“It is very gratifying that the project has received additional funding, especially since it now works so well at all children’s oncology centers to offer the comprehensive genetic analyzes and include the child cancer patients in the study,” says Johanna Sandgren, PhD and Head of The Swedish Childhood Tumor Biobank. “We also now know that it can benefit directly with regard to refined diagnostics, and adjusted treatment in the form of, for example, targeted therapy for a smaller percentage of children, with the information that these new analyzes provide for care.”

The subsequent phase involves the regions assuming financial responsibility for sequencing as an integral component of healthcare services. A research paper summarizing the findings from the initial 117 patients was released in May of this year.

Additional compilations within the project are currently underway to evaluate and document the clinical benefits in an expanded group of participants, as well as to make health economic evaluations.

The project may also pave the way for additional research studies through the data it produces, enhancing our understanding of tumors in children. This may pave the way for the creation of more effective treatments that boost the chances of survival and minimize the side effects for the affected children.