Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC), the University Health Network (UHN), and the University of Toronto (U of T) have identified a novel gene that when mutated results in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumour found in children. This research is reported in the July issue of the scientific journal Nature Genetics.
Brain tumours are the second most common cancer in children after leukemia, with the incidence increasing at a rate of five to 10 per cent per year. More than 200 Canadian children are diagnosed with brain tumours each year, with approximately 100 new cases at The Hospital for Sick Children alone. Despite advances in treatment, survival from brain tumours remains lower than for other forms of cancer. Medulloblastoma, a malignant tumour that occurs in the cerebellum, accounts for 20 per cent of all paediatric brain tumours. It is a rapidly growing tumour that is more common in boys than girls.
"A subset of children with medulloblastoma are born with a mutation in a gene called SUFU, or human suppressor of fused, that predisposes them to develop this tumour. This is a germline mutation - the mutation is in every cell of the childs body - which indicates that this gene is important in the initiation of the tumour," said Dr. Michael Taylor, the studys lead author, a U of T graduate student, and a neurosurgery resident in HSCs Clinician-Scientist Training Program.
Laura Greer | EurrekAlert
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