New research shows benefits of precision medicine in treating brain tumours in children

Tuesday 14 February 2017

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that advanced precision medicine has beneficial applications for treating childhood brain tumours.

Targeted therapies for cancer have significantly improved the treatment of certain types of leukaemia and breast cancer, among many other cancers.

"The importance of genomic profiling in the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric brain cancers is reflected in the World Health Organization's recent decision to classify such tumours by the genetic alterations within them, rather than by broad tumour type" says study co-senior author Susan Chi, MD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

"Targeted therapies are likely to be most effective when they're matched to specific abnormalities within tumour cells. Our findings show that precision medicine for paediatric brain tumours can now be a reality."

The findings published in the journal Neuro-Oncology, showed that more than half of the samples taken from paediatric brain tumours had genetic irregularities that could influence how the disease was diagnosed or treated with either approved drugs or drugs being tested in clinical trials.

This research demonstrates that testing childhood brain tumour tissue for genetic abnormalities is clinically important and that in many cases the results can help to guide personalised treatment for patients.

As a Charity we entirely welcome this research and approach to treatment. As part of our Research Strategy 'A Cure Can't Wait', we have launched a new funding scheme to ensure that each patient benefits from an early and accurate diagnosis.

Our new Clinical Biomarkers funding call supports the identification of markers, validation of markers and their implementation into routine clinical use in the UK.

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