DNA method can provide more effective treatment of childhood cancer

October 15, 2012

After leukaemia and brain tumours, neuroblastoma is the most common form of cancer to affect children. A thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has studied a DNA method which is now used for all cases of neuroblastoma in Sweden, and which has led to more effective treatment at individual level.

Neuroblastoma affects around 20 children each year, most of them under the age of two. This form of cancer, which affects the , is particularly unusual: some tumours can regress spontaneously without treatment, while others are highly aggressive and have a despite intensive treatment.

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg have shown that can be used to differentiate the subgroups of this type of cancer, which it is hoped could lead to a more personalized treatment.

"The ultimate scenario would be first to analyze the tumour, and then to introduce medicine that targets the specific properties of that particular tumour," explains Hanna Kryh, who presents the results in her thesis. "In this way, the treatment could be personalized so that patients with a more aggressive form would receive an intensive treatment, while patients with a less aggressive form could be spared unnecessary side-effects. Our studies are a real first step towards such a form of personalized treatment strategy."

The method is already used for all new cases of neuroblastoma in Sweden, in order to make a sounder diagnosis and to place the patient in the appropriate treatment group.

"We have also identified a previously unknown subgroup of neuroblastoma, with a that helps us to investigate which genes are important in terms of tumour development, and may be suitable targets for future treatment."

The researchers hope that the DNA method will be used as a starting point for the development of patient-specific tests that can detect tumour cells in blood or bone marrow samples.

"This would allow us to monitor how well the patient is responding to the treatment, and to detect remaining , that could result in a relapse, at an early stage."

The thesis "Molecular characterization of neuroblastoma tumours – A basis for personalized medicine" was defended in June.

Explore further: New gene variants increase risk of paediatric cancer

More information: Link to thesis: hdl.handle.net/2077/28956

Related Stories

New gene variants increase risk of paediatric cancer

October 4, 2012
Two new gene variants have been discovered by researchers from Italy and the United States that increase the risk of neuroblastoma, a paediatric cancer. This discovery was made using automated technology to perform genome-wide ...

Recommended for you

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.