The Precision Genomics program at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health offers pediatric patients with aggressive and relapsed cancers an innovative approach at finding potential drug therapies aimed at benefiting each individual child’s unique case.
The first-of-its-kind program has identified therapeutic options in more than three quarters of the children evaluated. The most common cancers evaluated and treated to date in the program include solid tumors, brain cancers and leukemias.
A personalized approach
Medical researchers have found that patient’s tumors are often driven by unique combinations of gene mutations. When it comes to treating cancer, knowing which mutations are in a tumor may be more important than where the tumor is found.
By analyzing the DNA, RNA and proteins of the cancer cells, as well as the DNA of the patient, our team is able to make real-time drug therapy recommendations for use in the child’s treatment plan in a matter of days.
This rapid turnaround time paired with targeted therapies can lead to better outcomes, reduced side effects and an overall improvement of quality of life.
A multidisciplinary, collaborative approach
The Precision Genomics program is a consultative service for genetic/genomic testing, working in collaboration with the treating physician to develop a personalized treatment plan based on the team’s pediatric-focused interpretation of the test results.
The program will facilitate testing, interpret testing, research therapeutic options, facilitate tumor board, and assist with drug approvals. In collaboration with the treating physician, the team will meet with the families to discuss genetic testing, as well as the interpretation of the results and recommendation.
The comprehensive care team includes medical director Dr. Jamie Renbarger, oncologists, pharmacists, molecular biologists, pathologists, social workers and genetic counselors. The team also works closely with other physicians, scientists and pediatric bioethicists at Riley at IU Health. The patient and their family are supported by a nurse coordinator who serves as their counselor through the process.
The treating physician is regularly updated and included throughout the process.
The future of cancer treatment
There’s no other program in the Midwest like the Precision Genomics program at Riley Children’s Health. By integrating patient care and research, this unparalleled program aims to improve outcomes in children with the most aggressive cancers while working to continually provide the best care for all children with cancer. We utilize the most sophisticated and comprehensive next-generation cancer diagnostic tests available today together with germline genomic sequencing to make the best treatment decisions for individual children with aggressive cancers.