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Fewer mutations in kids' cancer

The first genetic map of pediatric cancer reveals important differences from adult tumors

Megan Scudellari
There are substantial differences between the adult and childhood forms of cancer, according to the first pediatric cancer genome sequence, published online Thursday by linkurl:Science.;http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/15/science.1198056The most common type of childhood brain cancer has five- to ten-fold fewer cancer-linked mutations in the genome than adult tumors, and these differences could extend to other cancer types, the researchers report.
Brain scan of six-year-old girl with a medulloblastoma
linkurl:Wikimedia Commons, Reytan;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CompT1.jpg
"It was a surprise," said linkurl:Victor Velculescu,;http://humangenetics.jhmi.edu/index.php/faculty/victor-velculescu.html an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and senior author on the paper. "People think cancers are all alike." And this could be good news, he noted: The presence of fewer mutations in pediatric tumors suggests it may be easier to develop therapies to treat childhood cancer than adult cancer.Despite the many researchers dedicated to cancer, relatively little is known about the childhood version of the disease. "Pediatric cancers, in large...
The Scientist.MLL2MLL3,Parsons, D.W., et al., "The Genetic Landscape of the Childhood Cancer Medulloblastoma," Science, linkurl:published online;http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/15/science.1198056 16 December 2010.



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