Saturday, 14 January 2012

Pediatric Cancer Genome Project

Two years ago St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced a $65-million, three-year joint effort to identify the genetic changes that give rise to some of the world's deadliest childhood cancers. The aim was to decode the genomes of more than 600 childhood cancer patients. No one had sequenced a complete pediatric cancer genome prior to the PCGP, which has sequenced more than 250 sets to date.
The project is starting now to produce important results, with two studies published on the latest issue of Nature.
In the first one (The genetic basis of early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia) researchers sequenced the genomes of cancer cells from twelve patients with early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia and discovered that genetically, the subtype had more in common with a different type of leukemia than with other acute lymphoblastic leukemias. This might point the way toward better treatments, according to the St. Jude researchers.
In the other study (A novel retinoblastoma therapy from genomic and epigenetic analyses) investigators sequenced the tumors of four young patients with retinoblastoma, a rare
childhood tumor of the retina of the eye. The finding also led investigators to a new treatment target and possible therapy.

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