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!
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology