Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Childhood Cancer

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, August 25, 2008 12:55 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Cancer, Neuroblastoma, Childhood Cancer, ALK Gene, Lymphoma


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / Neuroblastoma / author: Filipem

Scientists have identified a gene that causes inherited forms of neuroblastoma, a fast-growing cancer that mostly affects infants and children. They are hopeful the findings will pave the way for new treatments.

Neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks the nervous system, is the third most common childhood cancer. It affects nearly 1 in 80,000 children in the United States.

In a new study, researchers from Belgium, Italy and the United States strongly linked neuroblastoma to mutations in an ALK gene (anaplastic lymphoma kinase).

Several pharmaceutical companies are already working on medications that target this gene, which is also a variation in some adult cases of lung cancer and lymphoma. These same drugs can soon begin testing in children with neuroblastoma.

"This discovery will enable us to extend, for the first time, genetic tests to those families that are directly affected by the inherited form of this terrible disease," said Dr. Yael Mosse, a pediatric oncologist at Children's Hospital, in Philadelphia.

After researchers determined the source of familial neruoblastoma, they examined whether ALK mutations also played a role in random, non-inherited cases – those that do not occur in families.

They found ALK mutations in 12 percent of 194 tumor samples that were taken from children with an aggressive form of the neruoblastoma.

“These study findings are very important, as they will help us to further understand the genetic makeup of this disease, while also leading us to new curative therapies,” said Dr. John Maris of Children’s Hospital and director of the study.

The study is published in the British journal Nature. #

No Comments

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes