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Research News


Image guided radiation therapy improves childhood brain tumors treatments
Image guided radiation therapy, or IGRT, is used throughout a patient’s radiation treatments to help improve the localization of the target. This common practice allows for the radiation to be delivered more precisely and to prevent potential late effects in pediatric brain tumor patients. 


Recent discovery could prevent the progression of medulloblastoma
Researchers at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, or IRCM, have recently discovered that the presence of the Boc protein located on the surface of cells can induce DNA damage in tumor cells. The mutations promote the progression of precancerous lesions into advanced medulloblastoma. The study found that when Boc is inactivated the number of tumors is significantly smaller.


National Institutes of Health award targets new therapies and cell pathways
More than $64 million has been awarded to six research institutions by the National Institutes of Health. The award will create a database of human cellular responses that will aid in the discovery and development of new therapies for many diseases.


Search for brain tumor biomarkers in urine is successful
A biomarker’s levels go up or down as the patient’s disease gets better or worsens. In a recent study two researchers have found a prominent relationship between urine netrin levels and medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of children.


New enzyme target for selective cancer therapies
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a compound that targets a specific enzyme that’s prominent in certain cancers. The team synthesized a unique inhibitor that prevents the activity of an enzyme called neuraminidase. Neuraminidases are found in surplus amounts in glioblastoma cells, a form of brain cancer.


Tailoring tumor treatment for each child
Childhood brain tumors that relapse have a poor outcome. At last month’s Worldwide Innovative Networking 2014 Symposium in Paris, Dr. Stefan Pfister shared the early successes of INFORM, a registry for individualizing treatment in pediatric brain tumor patients. Using biopsies, doctors treat relapsed tumors with targeted drugs rather than generalized chemotherapy.


Podcast addresses innovative childhood cancer research news
Research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting is the topic of a podcast with a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital oncologist. Dr. Melissa Hudson discusses a clinical study of a monoclonal antibody in DIPG, a study of chemotherapy-induced hearing loss, and a study of the late effects of treatment on sperm count in adult survivors of childhood cancer.


Growing body of literature points to “epigenetic addiction”
Epigenetic addiction, an aberrant epigenetic state to which a tumor is addicted, has been recently determined as a previously unsuspected mechanism of oncogenesis.


Study links parents’ chemical exposure to brain tumors in children
study at the University of Western Australia compared the occupational exposures to certain chemicals among parents of children with brain tumors with those of parents whose children did not have brain tumors. Men exposed in the year before their child was conceived and women exposed at any time in their life have a higher risk of their child developing a brain tumor.


Autopsy-based protocol investigates DIPG spectrums
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is one of the deadliest forms of childhood brain tumors. Findings of a study using a newly-developed autopsy-based protocol suggest that classic DIPGs actually represent a diverse histologic spectrum and that the current grading scheme may not accurately predict outcome.


Cancer community concerned about EU proposal
A recent European Parliament resolution may impose that researchers be required to ask for a patient's ‘specific’ consent each time new research is carried out on already available data and/or tissues. The unintended consequence of the wording may put at stake the practice of retrospective clinical research, tissue banking and population-based cancer registries.


Parents donate child’s tumor tissue to research
After losing their 6-year-old son to DIPG, parents Lenore and Trevor Wyant donated his tumor tissue to research, hoping to find answers for other children battling the disease. Because of donated tissue samples, scientists were able to conduct the studies that led to the discovery reported in 2012, that unique genetic mutations are present in 80 percent of DIPG samples. –USA Today


Childhood cancer survivors face more health issues in adulthood
According to a federally funded study led by researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, adult survivors of childhood cancer face significant health problems as they age. The study shows that these survivors are five times more likely than their siblings to develop new cancers beyond the age of 35. –Science Daily