What Genetic Mutations are Associated with the Initiation of Aggressive Neuroblastoma in Children?

What Genetic Mutations are Associated with the Initiation of Aggressive Neuroblastoma in Children?

Stem Cell Model Illuminates Genetic Drivers of Neuroblastoma

Unlocking the Genetic Origins of Childhood Cancer

Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer primarily affecting infants and young children, has long puzzled researchers due to its complex genetic underpinnings. A new stem cell model developed by scientists at the University of Sheffield offers a breakthrough in understanding the genetic origins of this devastating disease.

Genetic Mutations and the Onset of Neuroblastoma

The research, published in [Journal Name], reveals that specific mutations in chromosomes 17 and 1, coupled with overactivation of the MYCN gene, play a pivotal role in the initiation of aggressive neuroblastoma tumors. These genetic alterations disrupt the normal development of embryonic cells called “trunk neural crest (NC)” cells, which give rise to neuroblastoma cells.

A Stem Cell Model to Mimic Tumor Initiation

“Our stem cell-based model mimics the early stages of aggressive neuroblastoma formation,” explains Dr. Anestis Tsakiridis, lead author of the study. “It provides invaluable insights into the genetic drivers of this devastating childhood cancer.”

By recreating the conditions that lead to tumor initiation, researchers can delve deeper into the mechanisms underpinning this process and design more effective treatment strategies.

Potential for Tailored Therapies

“This research offers new hope for the creation of tailored treatments that specifically target the cancer while minimizing the adverse effects experienced by patients from existing therapies,” says Dr. Ingrid Saldana, stem cell expert and lead researcher at the University of Sheffield.

Improved treatment strategies are crucial as survival rates for children with aggressive neuroblastoma are low, and most survivors suffer from side effects linked to current harsh treatments.

Collaborative Effort Across Boundaries

“This was an impressive team effort, breaching geographic and disciplinary boundaries to enable new discoveries in childhood cancer research,” adds Dr. Florian Halbritter, lead author from St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute in Vienna.

The findings of this study underscore the importance of interdisciplinary research in tackling complex diseases like cancer. By combining expertise in stem cell biology, genomics, and computational biology, researchers have gained a deeper understanding of the genetic origins of neuroblastoma and paved the way for more effective treatments for young patients.

also read:Does a single mutated copy of MUTYH gene increase the risk of other cancer types?

By Deepika

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