Precision medicine represents arguably the most exciting advance in pediatric oncology in recent decades. Despite great hope for this new approach to making individualized treatment recommendations for children with cancer, there will likely be associated psychosocial challenges for all stakeholders involved, including patients, parents, clinicians and scientists. Precision medicine trials are very complex, meaning that patients’/parents’ understanding about their treatment options might be limited. Healthcare professionals might also find it difficult to manage the psychosocial impacts of precision medicine for their patients. This presentation summarises the key potential impacts of precision medicine for children with cancer, their families and the professionals who care for them. Professor Wakefield will present data from recent systematic reviews, a large-scale acceptability study, plus emerging prospective data from the first 100 families enrolled in the Australian PRISM precision medicine trial for children with high-risk cancer.
Claire Wakefield, BPsych(hons), MPH, PhD
Director, Behavioural Sciences Unit
Sydney Children’s Hospital
Professor Claire Wakefield, registered psychologist, is Director of the Behavioural Sciences Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Australia. She is a chief investigator on grants worth >$26M and has published >140 peer-reviewed articles. Professor Wakefield holds a prestigious NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, and a $2.7M program grant, and is Co-Director of the SPHERE Kids to Adults (K2A): Creating Healthy Futures Clinical Academic Group. She chairs the pediatrics committee for the International Psycho-Oncology Society and founded the first international early career group for professionals working in pediatric psycho-oncology. Professor Wakefield’s team has created and implemented evidence-based resources for bereaved families, parents of children with cancer, and adolescents and young adults with cancer, including 10 clinical decision aids, many of which are now endorsed and disseminated by NSW Health. With increased use of genetic testing and personalized medicine in pediatrics, her team is assessing the psychological impact of new genetic technologies on children and families and is exploring the ethical questions arising in this novel area of medicine. Her team leads the patient-reported outcomes study in the PRISM clinical trial, one of the largest personalized medicine trials for childhood cancer patients worldwide.