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The whole life

What if we could stop an illness before it exists?

Cambridge is home to countless discoveries. Newton’s gravity, Darwinism, Martin Evans’ theorised stem cell technology.

But the most essential discovery for Cambridge Children’s Hospital is arguably that of structural DNA and the creation of sequencing.

This is next-generation science that will improve the lives of our next generation.

Alex soaking up the sun outdoor

What makes us who we are?

Our genes make us who we are – a person’s genome is the template for their development. A complete catalogue of what we inherit and, just as importantly, how this interacts with our environment.

By comprehensively understanding a child’s genomic structure, we can reveal extraordinary insight into their life.

And by sequencing both their own and their parents’ genome, we’re able to identify any potential genetic disorders — even those that lie far into their future.

Alex posing outdoor outside of his front door
Alex posing outside his front door

Prevention is better than cure

Using our knowledge of genomics and environmental factors which attribute to illness, we’ll introduce preventative treatments for children, and the adults they become.

Personalised medicine

Using ground-breaking genomic science will enhance our ability to pinpoint the very best treatment, rather than trialling medicine until one works.

Helping us be more accurate, more effective and much faster, and give young people the treatment their DNA requires.

By embedding these advances within our hospital, we’ll be able to diagnose more quickly and more accurately, personalising medicine which lays the foundations for their health in the future. Unlocking an approach that improves the trajectory of a young person’s life by looking at both the child, and the adult they’ll become.

To read more about genomic science visit the Genomics page in the Research section.

Sharing our knowledge

By linking our knowledge of genomic sequencing with national health records, we will better understand how genetic health interacts with environmental factors — including education, socio-economics and behaviour — throughout a child’s whole life.

We will then use this research to create a unique library capable of predicting and preventing diseases, and developing adaptive, personalised medicine.

All before sharing the life-changing lessons we learn across the globe, helping children and young people aged 0-19, including those with cancer, from the East of England and far beyond.

To find out more visit the Technology page in the Research section.

Lifetime care

We’ll support young people who require care throughout their whole lives with the compassion and respect they deserve.

With specialist access to essential information, they won’t need to repeat their stories each time they join a new service.

And with world leading Addenbrooke’s, the Royal Papworth, CPFT and the Rosie hospitals right on our doorstep we’ll oversee the seamless transition to adult care if and when required.

By listening and understanding each individual’s needs, we’ll make sure they’re part of any decisions that will directly affect their lives — be it in their education or employment.

All so they can go about their lives as normal, today, tomorrow and ten years down the line.

We’ll treat the child and the adult they’ll become

Precise genomic research will help young adults like Alex stay healthy now — and make sure they’re healthier long into their future.

Baby Alex framed picture on a window sill
Alex, aged six, before his diagnosis

At just six years old, Alex was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. The tumour, the size of an orange, needed extensive treatment and Alex immediately underwent surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell replacement treatment. Yet despite all of this, the tumour grew again, and Alex was given a terminal diagnosis.

What happened next defied everyone’s expectations. It defied medical science. Remarkably, Alex’s condition dramatically improved. And today, on the cusp of adulthood, he is a 17-year-old doing his best to get on with life as normal.

Alex proved with personalised care it’s possible to survive and thrive against all the odds. Cambridge Children’s Hospital will make that dream possible for thousands of other children and their families. I for one want to help make that happen.

Alex’s mum, Annalise
Alex sitting on a bench outdoor
Alex, now aged 17, enjoys days spent in the sunshine

Alex has now spent over 11 years receiving care, needing support as both an inpatient and outpatient for a number of mental and physical health difficulties. In this time, he has required treatments spanning eight different specialisms. And he will need care for the rest of his life.

With so many streams of support, it is essential for Alex’s family that his care is fully integrated and his medicine is as effective as possible. This could be the difference between repeating his needs to a new healthcare professional, or a doctor knowing his entire history before they even meet.

Between trialling medicines until they work, or receiving a precise, personalised prescription that’s specifically designed to improve his condition.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital is determined to make the transition from child-to-adult health services as smooth as possible for teenagers just like Alex. At such an important stage of their life, the last thing they need is more complication. We need to do everything to help them now, and long into their future.

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