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NIH Seeks Projects for Pediatric Cancer, Birth Defect Sequencing Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced that it is accepting applications from researchers interested in performing whole-genome sequencing studies on pediatric cancer and structural birth defect samples at one of the agency's Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Program sequencing facilities.

The Kids First program was launched in 2014 to advance pediatric cancer research through the creation of a genomic and phenotypic data resource for the medical community. In line with this goal, the NIH in 2015 provided funding for projects identifying and collecting DNA samples from patients with childhood cancers or structural birth defects for sequencing. The next year it began looking for centers where the sequencing can be conducted, ultimately selecting the Broad Institute and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in collaboration with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

The NIH is now seeking applications proposing the sequencing of DNA samples from childhood cancer cohorts, as well as DNA and RNA samples from tumors, for which a genetic basis is suspected but not identified. It will also accept applications for DNA sequencing of samples from subjects with types of structural birth defects that are not yet well-represented in the Kids First dataset and that are appropriate for whole-genome sequencing.

The NIH noted that it is only interested in projects involving already-extracted genomic DNA or samples that are ready to be extracted, and participants who have given consent to allow sharing of individual-level sequence and relevant phenotype data through NIH-approved repositories.

Researchers whose projects are selected by the NIH are expected to collaborate with the Kids First sequencing centers at the Broad and HudsonAlpha/St. Jude, which will produce the genome, exome, and transcriptome sequences and called variant data sets. Data from these studies will be made available through the recently established Kids First Data Resource Center.

Additional details about the resource access opportunity can be found here