A team of investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles recently launched OncoKidsSM, a next-generation sequencing-based panel specifically designed for paediatric cancers.
The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) OncoKidsSM cancer panel is a primer-based target enrichment, next-generation sequencing assay designed to detect diagnostic, prognostic and biologic markers for targeted therapy across the spectrum of pediatric cancers. These cancers include leukaemias, sarcomas, brain tumours and embryonal tumours. OncoKidsSM is a targeted gene panel intended to guide the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pediatric patients based on the genomic alterations specific to their tumor.
The OncoKidsSM panel was developed by a team comprised of laboratory geneticists, oncologists and pathologists.
In contrast to adult cancers, which may contain hundreds of sequence alterations, paediatric malignancies may develop from a very small number of mutations, only some of which overlap with the types of mutations seen in adult cancers.

Some of these mutations can be present in the germline, and may have been inherited from a parent who may or may not have cancer. Tumour-specific structural changes including duplications, translocations or inversions, which result in novel activating gene fusions, are also much more frequent in childhood cancer than in adult cancer, especially in leukaemia and sarcomas.
We could not simply modify a panel used for adult cancers because the genomic profiles of childhood cancers are so very different,” said Timothy Triche, M.D., Ph.D. “OncoKids was designed based on the need we saw in our own clinics, with our own patients.
The OncoKidsSM panel detects mutations, gene amplification and gene fusions for a full range of paediatric cancers including leukaemia s, bone and soft tissue tumour s and brain tumour s. The test requires only a small amount of DNA and RNA (20ng) isolated from fresh, frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, so that retrospective analysis of primary and recurrent tumour s can be performed. The combined DNA and RNA assay can replace many of the single gene, or more narrowly focused, next-generation sequencing-based panels, as well as a variety of fluorescence in situ hybridization assays, which will save time and preserve tissue.
In addition to providing this unique test panel developed for paediatric cancers, we are also making available our team of experts to provide clinical pathology consultations and to meet with clinical geneticists and genetic counselors in our Cancer Genomics Clinic. These experts can guide patients and physicians with respect to further testing, including germline mutation testing,” said Jaclyn Biegel, Ph.D., FACMG, director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at CHLA.
We are also providing clinical investigators and their institutions access to some of the best bioinformatics specialists in the country, who are working on web-based portals for variant curation and data sharing that will be invaluable for both clinical and research applications.

CHLA OncoKidsSM Panel Features

OncoKidsSM is the most comprehensive gene panel currently available for the management of childhood cancers.

  • Designed specifically for pediatric cancers by pediatric geneticists, oncologists and pathologists
  • Developed and validated in a CAP/CLIA environment
  • Utilizes 10x less sample material than other next-generation sequencing cancer assays; critical for pediatric patients with smaller tumors
  • Incorporates both DNA and RNA to obtain a more detailed picture of a patient’s tumor profile
  • Backed by pediatric specialists ready to discuss clinical cases or field any technical or scientific questions

CHLA’s Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases is home to one of the largest paediatric  haematology-oncology programs in the country.
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,” said Alan Wayne, M.D., director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA and professor of Paediatric s at the USC Keck School of Medicine and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.


The OncoKidsSM panel, developed with Thermo Fisher Scientific, uses the Ion Torrent S5 sequencing platform and Ion AmpliSeq technology. Information about OncoKidsSM can be found HERE or requested by emailing askcpm@chla.usc.edu.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top 10 in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States.
Children’s Hospital is also one of America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
For more information, visit CHLA.org.

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