Canadian-led research team identifies two mutations in crucial gene involved in deadly pediatric brain tumors
Researchers at McGill University identified two genetic mutations responsible for up to 40 percent of glioblastomas in children - a fatal cancer of the brain that is unresponsive to chemo and radiotherapy treatment. The mutations were found to be involved in DNA regulation, which could explain the resistance to traditional treatments, and may have significant implications for the treatment of other cancers. "These mutations prevent the cells from differentiating normally and help protect the genetic information of the tumor, making it less sensitive to radiotherapy and chemotherapy," says Dr. Nada Jabado, principal investigator of the study. Inappropriate regulation of this gene has been observed in other cancers such as colon, pancreatic, lymphoma, leukemia and pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. This discovery is considered a major genetic breakthrough that could change the way pediatric cancers are treated in the future.