Genetic markers discovered for deadly brain tumours
18 June 2012 17:24 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
Scientists have found new genetic markers that could be used to help diagnose and combat a type of brain tumour that mainly targets children.
An international collaboration between the University of Nottingham and the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto has studied the causes of central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal brain tumours, a disease for which prognoses are typically extremely poor.
It was found that these tumours have three sub-types featuring distinct genetic abnormalities, leading to different outcomes for patients, with each group having its own genetic signature through differences in the expression of LIN28 and OLIG2.
Using these markers, clinicians could diagnose and predict outcomes for young patients more accurately in future.
Professor Richard Grundy at the university's children's brain tumour research centre said: "We realised that an international effort was needed to bring sufficient numbers of cases together to make the breakthrough we needed to better understand this disease or indeed diseases identified in our study."
Data from Cancer Research UK reveals that brain and central nervous system tumours are the second most common childhood cancer type in the UK, accounting for around a quarter of all cases.
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