The Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine at Phoenix Children’s marks a critical turning point when it comes to diagnosing, treating, curing and someday preventing childhood cancer and other serious diseases. For the first time in the history of medicine, treatment decisions can be made based on the findings of what has changed within an individual’s own DNA. The patients of Phoenix Children’s Hospital will be at the center of this medical revolution.
Through gene sequencing and sophisticated methods for testing sensitivity to new drugs, we can identify the potential mutations, and specifically target them with fewer side effects. Starting with our high risk cancer patients, we can cure more patients of the disease in ways that are more effective and less harmful. Genetic or “genomic” information also may help predict the side effects a child is likely to have with the goal of minimizing or preventing them. Eventually, molecular medicine will allow us to identify specific genetic susceptibility to disease so we can stop it early in its development – or prevent it altogether.
Together, we can create a future where fewer children lose their battle with cancer and other illnesses – one in which the practice of pediatric medicine is smarter, faster, safer and far more effective.