Neuroblastoma is unique in the sense that at least ten percent of tumors regress spontaneously without treatment, even if they have already started to metastasize. “Neuroblastoma takes a very variable course. In some cases, the tumor disappears by itself, while other patients die in spite of intensive treatment,” explains Dr. Frank Westermann of the Tumorgenetics Division headed by Professor Dr. Manfred Schwab. “Using our test it will be possible to assess the individual patient’s risk more accurately.” This will enable scientists not only to better customize treatment to the individual case, but also to save patients with favorable prognosis the unnecessary strain of chemotherapy.
In the largest neuroblastoma study worldwide, Dr. Westermann and Dr. Benedikt Brors of the DKFZ, jointly with Dr. Matthias Fischer of Cologne University, have investigated tumor material of 251 patients. The research project was supported by the National Genome Research Network (NGFN) and the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). The scientists identified, at first in 77 tumors, 144 genes whose activity is characteristic for the course of the disease. Some of these genes are active in neuroblastomas that tend to be more malignant, while others are read more intensively in relatively benign tumors. Using a gene chip (microarray), the scientists can now study these gene activities in tumor samples and subsequently predict the further course of the disease.
The investigators tested the gene chip in another 174 tumor samples. The genetic test proved to be highly reliable: The course of the disease was predicted with 93 percent accurateness. This is substantially better than with current methods of neuroblastoma classification. In addition, the genetic test was able to filter out patients who would not have been treated according to conventional categorization, but whose disease took an unexpectedly aggressive course. In these cases, early treatment could be life-saving.
Julia Rautenstrauch | alfa
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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