Source: Frantab/Getty Images
Source: Frantab/Getty Images

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced it has established the International Childhood Oncology Network (ICON) and the concurrent launch of its Oncomine Childhood Cancer Research Assay, a next-generation sequencing (NGS) targeted panel developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to identify pediatric and young adult .

The goal of ICON is to help foster a global community of academic and clinical researchers focused on pediatric and young adult cancers via sharing of data, best practices and experiment protocols. According to a press release from Thermo Fisher Scientific announcing the launch of ICON, research into these types of cancers has lagged behind research into adult cancer, perhaps due to their different causes. “While adult cancers are commonly carcinomas with mutations that accumulate over time, childhood cancers are most often embryonic or neuro-ectodermal in origin and are largely driven by gene fusions,” the release noted.

The formation of ICON comes with the concurrent launch of Thermo’s new Oncomine Childhood Cancer Research Assay designed to identify the amplifications and fusions unique to childhood cancers. The assay interrogates 203 unique genes representing multiple gene classes and 1,700 fusion transcripts in two DNA and two RNA pools.

“The Oncomine Childhood Cancer Research Assay is of particular importance because it is the first designed for all forms of childhood cancers that simultaneously detects RNA gene fusions and DNA mutations, both of which are critical in childhood cancer,” said Timothy J. Triche, M.D., Ph.D., co-director, Center for Personalized Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “I am also very excited by the International Childhood Oncology Network, which will allow us and its members to collect data and share our experience in an effort to drive clinical research in childhood cancer.”

Joydeep Goswami, president of clinical next-generation sequencing and oncology at Thermo Fisher Scientific added: “It is through deep collaboration and cutting-edge technology that the scientific community will be able to drive real change and better understanding of childhood cancers. By establishing ICON, we want to further support and facilitate collaboration in the research community.”

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