Intended for healthcare professionals


Genome sequencing of children promises a new era in oncology

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 08 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l105
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London, UK

All children with cancer in England will be offered whole genome sequencing from this year in a move that will enable more comprehensive and precise diagnosis and access to more personalised treatments.

NHS England’s long term plan says that this will reduce the use of harmful drugs and interventions, support increased access to clinical trials, and reduce the number of young patients who have health problems caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.12

The smaller numbers—there are around 1800 paediatric cancers diagnosed a year—means it is more feasible to offer whole genome sequencing to all children rather than all adults with cancer. However, adults with certain rare conditions or specific cancers will also be offered full genome screening. NHS England says by 2029 over 100 000 people a year can access these tests.

Aine McCarthy, from Cancer Research UK’s children’s cancers team, said that the announcement was very exciting. “It will give us a load of new …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription