March 10, 2009

Discovery Could Improve Childhood Cancer Treatment

A discovery in Canada could help more children survive brain cancer.

Research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society discovered eight similar genes that when mutated, appear to be responsible for medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain cancers.

Researchers learned when the eight genes are functioning normally it appears their role is to make proteins that tell the developing brain when to stop growing. They said when the genes are mutated the brain may continue to grow out of control, leading to cancer.

"This discovery is very promising and may help researchers develop better, more targeted treatments so that more of these children will survive and fewer will suffer debilitating side effects," Dr. Christine Williams, Director of Research Programs, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society, March 2009