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Pediatric Cancer Moonshot Consortium Receives $20M to Study Brain Tumors in Children

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NantHealth, the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine (CSSIOMM), and other members of the Pediatric Cancer MoonShot 2020 consortium have launched the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas project, a new pediatric sequencing discovery project focused on studying childhood brain tumors.

The CSSIOMM is providing $20 million in funding for the study, which is expected to take six months to complete.

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas is the first project of the Pediatric Cancer MoonShot 2020 initiative. It includes participation from members of the Childhood Brain Tumor Consortium, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Hyundai Cancer Genomic program at the Children's Hospital of Orange County. They will work together to perform roughly 4,800 whole-genome tumor-normal RNA analyses for 1,600 children who have been diagnosed with brain tumors.

According to the consortium, data gleaned from the patient samples will be made publicly available for research into improved treatments and drugs. It will include both genomic and proteomics information collected from patient samples.

"There are 28,000 children age 0 to 18 with brain tumors in the United States [and] over 4,600 children are newly diagnosed each year," Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of NantWorks and leader of Cancer MoonShot 2020, said in a statement. "It's our moral imperative to act rapidly and to share the analysis of this large tumor atlas with the scientists who can use it in the war against this deadly disease."

According to numbers from website, there have only been four FDA approved drugs to treat pediatric brain tumors in the past 30 years. Between 1998 and 2014, there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs that went into clinical trials, but 75 of those candidates failed.

"There is tremendous lack of progress in the treatment of brain tumors in children, which makes this such an important project," added Lennie Sender, executive director of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer effort.

Establishing the pediatric tumor atlas "will be a major advance in our fight against cancer," Adam Resnick, director of CHOP's Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine, said. "This is exciting because the CBTTC has been bio-banking tissue for years, but has lacked the necessary funding for research. ... I believe this is a perfect synergy of efforts to lead to discovery."