Researchers funded by the Canadian Cancer Society have discovered eight similar genes that, when mutated, appear to be responsible for medulloblastoma – the most common of childhood brain cancers. The findings are published today in the online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.
"This discovery is very promising and may help researchers develop better, more targeted treatments so that more of these children will survive and fewer will suffer debilitating side effects," says Dr. Christine Williams, Director of Research Programs, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute.
Dr. Michael Taylor, who has a $600,000 research grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, led the study: "When these eight genes are functioning normally, we believe their role is to make a protein which tells the developing brain when it's time to stop growing. But when the genes are mutated, the brain may continue to grow out of control, leading to cancer.
"Drugs are already being developed that target these types of proteins," he says. "Our hope is that some of these drugs may be adapted and used effectively to treat medulloblastomas." Dr. Taylor is a pediatric brain surgeon at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children:
In the study, the largest of its kind, researchers looked at more than 200 tumour samples. The samples came from children in countries all over the world including Canada, the US, England, Poland and Saudi Arabia. Paul Northcott, a PhD student in Dr Taylor's lab, analyzed and interpreted all the data over a period of 3 ½ years. "We've learned more from this study about the genetic basis of this disease than from any other previous study," Northcott says. The gene mutations they found had not been suspected as culprits in cancer formation.
About 250 Canadian children are diagnosed with various types of brain cancer every year. About 70 per cent of these survive. Brain tumours are the leading cause of childhood cancer deaths. The most common childhood brain cancer is medulloblastoma – a tumour that occurs at the back of the brain in the cerebellum. It is primarily a disease of very young children and is particularly deadly among babies under 18 months of age. In Canada, about 40 children are diagnosed with medulloblastoma every year and half of these will survive.
Many survivors experience serious physical and neurological problems from the disease itself and from the effects of very aggressive treatments on the developing brain. Treatments include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Christine Harminc | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences