Genes Behind Aggressive Brain Tumors In Children Revealed
Researchers have pinpointed the genes that may cause medulloblastoma, the most aggressive and frequent form of brain tumor in children.
Asian Scientist (Nov. 7, 2013) - An international team of researchers has pinpointed a handful of genes that could drive the formation of medulloblastoma, the most aggressive and frequent form of brain tumor found in children.
The team, which included researchers from Australia, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, made the discovery after screening 85 such tumors.
Professor Brandon Wainwright, a leader of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said these genes provided potential targets for treatment.
“Brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer death in children,” he said. “Those who do survive often experience significant neurological, intellectual and physical disabilities as a result of their treatment, which involves surgical removal of the tumor followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”
“We clearly need more effective and less invasive options to treat medulloblastoma and improve outcomes for both children and adults with this devastating disease.”
There are four different sub-types of medulloblastoma, each with their own molecular signature.
The researchers identified underlying genetic regulatory networks that were present in all of the sub-types, a discovery that Professor Wainwright said was important in advancing treatments.
“We are now searching for existing drugs that may block these gene networks and act as viable treatment alternatives for medulloblastoma.”
Source: University of Queensland; Photo: Joan Vila/Flickr/CC.
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