A team of investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has unveiled OncoKids, an advanced sequencing-based panel particularly designed for paediatric cancers.

OncoKids can be used to guide the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in a child based on the genomic alterations specific to the child’s tumour.

The sequencing-based panel was developed by a team comprising laboratory geneticists, oncologists and pathologists.

OncoKids helps detect mutations, gene amplification and gene fusions for a complete range of pediatric cancers, including leukaemia, bone and soft tissue tumours and brain tumours.

CHLA Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases director Dr Alan Wayne said: “For those children whose cancer comes back or does not respond to standard therapy, this advanced genomic analysis can help us determine the next best step.

“By identifying the specific mutations associated with an individual's cancer, we can better select treatment options that might be most effective.”

The test can be conducted using a small amount of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) (20ng) isolated from fresh, frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, so that retrospective analysis of primary and recurrent tumours can be done.

The combined DNA and RNA can help replace many of the single gene, or more narrowly-focused, advanced sequencing-based panels, in addition to a wide range of fluorescence in situ hybridisation assays, which will save time and preserve tissue.

Developed with Thermo Fisher Scientific, the OncoKids panel uses the Ion Torrent S5 sequencing platform and Ion AmpliSeq technology.