The article is being published in the respected scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study includes 165 children with neuroblastoma, most of whom developed the disease before the age of five. These children have been monitored for over 20 years by two research teams led by professors Tommy Martinsson, of the Sahlgrenska Academy, and Per Kogner of Karolinska Institutet.
Neuroblastoma is a nerve cell cancer that has defects in certain chromosomes. If the tumour has a characteristic defect on chromosome 11, it is very aggressive and difficult to cure.
"We found that the children who develop this type of neuroblastoma are twice as old at the onset of the disease as children who develop other types of neuroblastoma. This type progresses more slowly and is more difficult to treat," says Helena Carén, a researcher at the Department of Clinical Genetics at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
By using the latest genetic techniques, the researchers have succeeded in analysing the DNA of tumour cells and identifying chromosomal defects, enabling the identification of sub-groups of the most aggressive neuroblastomas. The next step is to identify their weak points genetically in order to develop better treatment.
"We call this personalized medicine, because the treatment is based on the genetic profile of the patient, or in this case, of the tumour cells," says Tommy Martinsson, professor of genetics at the Department of Clinical Genetics at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
Per Kogner, professor of paediatric oncology at Karolinska Institutet, reiterates that their discovery will now allow a variety of tailor-made treatments to be developed, saving the lives of more children.
The study was carried out with the support of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Swedish Cancer Society.ABOUT NEUROBLASTOMA
For further information, please contact:
Helena Carén, doctor of medical science at the Sahlgrenska Academy, telephone +46 (0)31-343 41 57, +46 (0)706- 82 32 62, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tommy Martinsson, professor and chief geneticist (principal study investigator) at the Sahlgrenska Academy, tel +46 (0)31- 343 48 03, tel +46 (0)739-81 71 12 email@example.com
Per Kogner, professor and paediatric oncologist at the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital and researcher at Karolinska Institutet, +46 (0)8-5177 35 34, +46 (0)70-571 39 07, firstname.lastname@example.org
Helena Aaberg | idw
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