Phoenix Children's Hospital announces genomics institute

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Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (left) and Robert L. Meyer (right) By Chloe Nordquist Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (left) and Robert L. Meyer (right) By Chloe Nordquist

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Children's Hospital has announced its partnership with the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine that will help children with cancer with more precision.

The new Chan Soon-Shiong Children's Precision Medicine Institute will combine genomics research and new genomic technology to identify treatments and cures for young patients facing cancer or other serious illnesses.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong's vision is to apply genomics to fight cancer and other disorders.

"When you get cancer, one of the problems is that cancer has thousands and thousands of mutations," Soon-Shiong said. "So what we need to do, we take the DNA and through our supercomputer find the mutation that is the one driving this cancer so we can know what drug to give you."

The trial and repeat diagnosis method of treating cancer will be more accurate with the new database.

The treatment will be chosen based on proteins within the cancer cells and not the DNA itself.

"We need to be able to do 4,000 to 6,000 patients a day because there's 2 million, plus or minus, cancer patients a year," Soon-Shiong said.

With the current system, 4,000 patients can be analyzed a day with the supercomputer, according to Soon-Shiong.

"Cancer in the future could be like diabetes, a chronic disease and something where we need not fear that we'll die from it," Soon-Shiong said.

There are approximately 300 young patients with tumors each year who come in to Phoenix Children's Hospital, a miraculously small number, according to Phoenix Children's Hospital President and CEO Robert Meyer.

This partnership with Phoenix Children's Hospital is the first for the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine.

"I hope we'll see a nation consortion of children’s hospitals joining us to utilize this infrastructure, all the tools Patrick and NANTHealth bring to the table," Meyer said.

The joint venture will also employ anywhere from 100 to 200 new people.