Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


More accurate diagnosis for leading cancer killer in children may be possible

Missing, mutated genes occur simultaneously in unique set of pediatric brain tumors

Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in children. Now a more accurate diagnosis of childhood brain cancers may soon be possible, according to researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah. The information is published online today in the journal Cancer Research.

"Researchers already know cancerous tumors often lack certain copies of genes. They also know certain cancer-promoting genes are mutated in cancer patients," says Joshua Schiffman, M.D., an HCI investigator. "But what's significant about this new research is that we've shown these two events occur simultaneously in a unique set of pediatric brain tumors ¯ a finding previously unknown in these pediatric patients."

Schiffman, along with researchers from several other institutions including Stanford, Washington University, and UCSF, studied the tumors of pediatric brain cancer patients. Brain tumors are typically classified into grades 1-4 at the time of diagnosis based on their appearance under the microscope. Schiffman and colleagues studied samples from each brain tumor grade using new technology to detect either missing copies or extra copies of DNA. They also looked for mutations, or changes, in the DNA from the same brain tumor samples that can cause improper functioning of genes resulting in cancer. Researchers discovered genetic differences in the different tumor grades that may help explain tumor development and could lead to more accurate diagnosis and categorization of patients. While more research is needed, Schiffman believes these findings can eventually lead to more targeted and individualized treatments.

The research focuses on BRAF, a gene known to be commonly affected in low-grade brain tumors called astrocytomas. Researchers studied more than 40 of these pediatric astrocytomas ¯ the most common form of brain cancer in children ¯ and found that five out of seven grade 2-4 astrocytomas with BRAF mutations occurred in combination with a deletion in CDKN2A, another gene associated with cancer. The findings suggest these combined alterations define a subset of pediatric malignant astrocytomas.

According to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, every day, nine children in the U.S. are diagnosed with a brain tumor. Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer death from childhood cancer, accounting for 24 percent of cancer-related deaths. Pediatric brain tumors are different from those in adults and are often treated differently.

"A lot of progress has been made in our understanding of adult brain cancers, but we don't know as much about the genetics of pediatric brain cancers, which are the number one cancer killer of children," says Schiffman. "This information sheds new light in an area where little information was known. The ability to recognize unique subsets of tumors based on their genetic make-up could someday lead the way to more individualized treatments for pediatric brain cancers."

Schiffman is an assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. He is also affiliated with Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at The University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. HCI is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, which means that it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) a not-for-profit alliance of the world's leading cancer centers, which is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer.

Linda Aagard | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Brain Cancer DNA HCI Schiffman Utah brain cancer brain tumor cancer patients

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>