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DNA clue to child brain tumour success

Tuesday May 15th, 2018

DNA testing might help identify children with brain tumours that will respond to adult medications, British researchers have reported.

The findings come from an analysis of an international study, which appeared to show that bevacizumab was ineffective for children.

Researchers studied children who seemed to respond well to treatment – and found they show a pattern of mutations in the MAPK network of genes. These represented up to 15% of the children.

Some 121 children took part in the study involving 51 centres in 14 countries. The latest findings have been published in the journal Cancer Cell.

The researchers say children with MAPK mutations might also benefit from immunotherapy – as there were indications of killer T cells flocking to the site of the tumours.

Doctors now plan a clinical trial of treatment of children with these mutations.

Researcher Professor Chris Jones, of the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, said: “We will never see progress in treatment of children’s brain cancers while we continue to lump everyone with these cancers together in one group. Children deserve better.

“Our research has previously shown that children’s brain cancer is really 10 different diseases, and our new study found these genetic differences can have a major impact on how children respond to drugs. We are building up evidence that genetic testing in children with cancer can have real benefits for selecting the best treatment.”

Institute chief executive Professor Paul Workman said: “This exciting research is giving us the tools to personalise treatment for children with brain cancer. It’s vital that we take advantage of advances in research by improving children’s access to genetic testing and clinical trials, so every child has the best possible chance of receiving a drug that may work for them.”

Cancer Cell 15 May 2018

Tags: Cancer | Child Health | Genetics | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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