Sohn Conference Foundation Awards $1.5 Million for Precision Medicine

The Sohn Conference Foundation has announced a three-year, $1.5 million grant to Columbia University Medical Center in support of the center's precision pediatric cancer program.

Genomic sequencing of cancer cells enables physicians to select treatments which address the underlying genetic changes that occurred during the development of cancer and are most likely to produce a therapeutic response — a more precise and personalized approach to cancer diagnosis and care. The grant will enable CUMC to expand access to an existing genomic sequencing program for pediatric cancer patients at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia to children with high-risk cancer who are being treated at other New York City hospitals.

"Genomic technologies have transformed our ability to understand the precise underpinnings of each patient's cancer, and in many cases highlights the importance of tailoring cancer treatment to the patient's genetic profile rather than to the tumor type alone," said Andrew Kung, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at CUMC and pediatric oncologist at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. "These comprehensive analyses have produced life-saving results for our pediatric patients over the last two years. Unfortunately, these technologies are not routinely covered by insurance and remain out of reach for many. This support from the Sohn Conference Foundation ensures that New York City children battling high-risk cancers can benefit from this program even as we work to demonstrate to insurers the merits of such an approach."