Stem cells linked to an aggressive cancer

Jan. 12, 2010 at 1:03 PM

LONDON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The most common type of children's brain cancer can arise from stem cells, researchers in Britain say.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, say their findings, published in Oncogene, could be a crucial first step in finding new ways to tackle a very aggressive form of cancer found within the tumor type known as medulloblastomas.

"This type of brain tumor can pose a great challenge to doctors. In some children, treatment works well but in others the cancer is aggressive and far harder to treat," study leader Silvia Marino said in a statement. "As scientists we've been trying to understand how these cancers which look the same can behave so differently."

Marino and colleagues studied equivalent cells taken from mouse brains and found cells with certain genes -- called Rb and p5 -- turned into medulloblastomas. They then looked more closely at the genetic makeup of these tumors and found a particular pattern which they compared with tumors taken from patients with medulloblastomas and found patients whose tumors also had this genetic pattern were those with the worst survival chances.

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Topics: Queen Mary
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