UC Santa Cruz pediatric cancer

Credit: UC Santa Cruz

There can be no more heartbreaking diagnosis for a child than that of cancer. It doesn’t seem possible—or fair—that someone so young can be afflicted with a disease we often associate with aging.

And yet, cancer kills more children in the United States than any other disease.

A cancer diagnosis used to be a death sentence for young children. Doctors could offer very little to their youthful patients, aside from words of comfort.

But a team of researchers from the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute is using a unique combination of high-tech networking and data sharing to open up a new front in the battle against pediatric cancer, while looking into effective, targeted alternatives to the harsh treatments of the past.

“Using genomics to help guide therapy in a patient is not new,” said Olena Morozova, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, and a lead researcher for California Kids Cancer Comparison, a project that aims to fight pediatric cancer by comparing cancer data from young patients across the globe. “What is new is our vision to share and consolidate all the cancer genomic data so that we can use the knowledge and the world’s data for the benefit of each new patient. We are literally learning and improving our approach with every patient.”

Read the full story at UC Santa Cruz Magazine.