Genome Sequencing for Childhood Cancers

Cancer is a disease caused largely by changes in DNA. New technologies now make it possible to analyze the DNA of a tumor and compare it to the normal DNA to find changes that might predict how the patient will respond to a specific therapy. So, for the first time it is becoming possible to tailor therapy to the DNA changes in cancer, rather than using the same drugs for all patients with a given type of cancer.  This tailored approach is called “personalized medicine” and uses the new technology of high-throughput sequencing (sometimes also called “next-generation sequencing” or NGS).

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has assembled a team of world-class clinicians, cancer biologists, computer scientists and clinical genetics experts to utilize high-throughput sequencing to improve the care of pediatric patients with cancer. A genomics tumor board meets every month to collectively discuss the DNA sequencing findings and determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient.

Patients who are most in need of genome sequencing are those whose tumors have relapsed after standard cancer treatment. Therefore, our team currently offers this cutting-edge approach to children with solid tumors that have relapsed or are at very high risk upon diagnosis. Children of all ages as well as young adults, may be eligible for this study.

This study is currently being run as a clinical trial. If you or your child are interested in the study, you may be asked to participate in the clinical trial so that we can learn more about how to use this type of information for all children with cancer.

For more information on the study, e-mail Dr. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero at