Ten children’s hospitals now sharing genomic medicine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Three more hospitals have signed on to rapidly integrate genetics and genomics into primary and specialty pediatric care. This is through an innovative consortium with Sanford Health.

The new hospitals are Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Palo Alto, California; Seattle Children’s Hospital; and American Family Children’s Hospital, UW Health, in Madison, Wisconsin. That therefore brings the total number in the consortium to 10.

Above all, the mission of the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium is to efficiently manage resources in genetics and genomics, perform cutting-edge research and education and bring genomic medicine into pediatric practice. This will help set the standard for precision medicine in children’s health care.

The other member hospitals are:

A previous innovation project funded by the consortium was a study of the outcomes of rapid whole genomic sequencing in critically ill newborn infants. Another previous study evaluated the routine use of an extensive, pediatric-focused, next generation sequencing panel in the diagnosis of childhood cancers.

Benefits of studying children’s genomics

Genetic diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (NICU, PICU). These children often undergo an extensive and expensive diagnostic process that may not lead to a final diagnosis.

Stephen Kingsmore, M.D., D.Sc., is the president and CEO of Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine (RCIGM). Kingsmore is leading rapid whole genomic sequencing in critically ill newborn infants. He wants to determine the complete DNA sequence of a child’s genome at one time to identify the risk of genetic diseases. Currently, the average turnaround time for sequencing to diagnosis by the RCIGM team is under a week. That is significantly faster than the common timetable for this type of work, which can take weeks to complete.

“The future of pediatric medicine is being transformed by the ability to rapidly decode the genomes of the most fragile newborns to deliver exact diagnoses and targeted treatment,” Kingsmore said.

Pediatric cancers have different genetic origins compared with adult cancers. Currently, panels for detecting the genetic origins of a tumor primarily focus on adult cancers. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles developed OncoKids®. This is specifically formulated to detect the genomic alterations of pediatric cancers. This includes leukemias, lymphomas, bone, soft tissue and brain tumors.

“The ability to identify the precise underlying genomic alterations in individual tumors with OncoKids® allows us to personalize care and innovate how we treat children with cancer,” said Alexander R. Judkins, M.D., Pathologist-in-Chief and Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine (CPM) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The vision of Denny Sanford inspired extending precision medicine to children’s health through this consortium.

“We are thrilled to welcome these three additional premier children’s hospitals to the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium. I am thankful to each member for their strong support of the spirit of working together to more precisely care for each child using the cutting edge tools of genetics and genomics,” said Gene Hoyme, M.D., Medical Director, Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium. “So much can be gained for the care of all children through the collaboration of these hospitals.”

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have transformed how Sanford Health improves the human condition. For information, visit sanfordhealth.org.

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