GREAT Program Revolutionizes Cancer Study

The new Division of Human Genetics and Genomics, led by Kenan Onel, MD, PhD, will enable Cohen Children’s Medical Center to become a destination children’s hospital for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. The information we learn from children, who are less influenced by environmental factors than adults, can be applied to the 19,000 new cancer diagnoses we see across the health system each year.

Through the revolutionary Genomics for Risk Evaluation and Anticancer Therapy in Kids (GREAT) program, Dr. Onel analyzes normal DNA and tumor DNA sequences upon a child’s initial diagnosis, as well as his/her parents’, and studies every relapsed and metastatic tumor.

Dr. Onel studies the cells that survive chemotherapy and advanced disease, as opposed to looking only at cells that cause cancer. Because cancer changes genes, every personalized cure found through Dr. Onel’s research informs another. These cures can spread across Northwell Health and beyond — changing the way physicians care for patients around the world.

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