Genetic Variation Offers New Way To Spot Childhood Cancers

Researchers from Sweden’s Lund University have completed a study that helps predict if a patient will experience recurrences of childhood cancer. Using the premise that cancer cells divide, causing chromosomes to break up and recombine in negative ways, the research reveals details about genomic instability in childhood cancer.

David Gisselsson Nord, an associate professor at Lund University, explains.

“Tumors in children are also genetically unstable, and the greater the variation between the cells, the more malignant the cancer.”

The study followed 44 cases of Wilms’ tumors, which are the most common type of childhood kidney cancer. Subjects, all young patients, had received chemotherapy. Some recovered, while others had recurrences or died. Those who died had the most genetic variation in their tumors.

Professor Gisselsson Nord also adds that “when there is so much variation between the cells, one sample is not enough to determine the properties of the tumor.”

The team of researchers have focused on microvariations. In order to best predict the risk of metastasis and death, “this is an entirely new way of assessing how dangerous a tumor is.”

Due to the interesting findings from the Lund study, the researchers are going to conduct a much larger study with new cases of kidney cancer in European children. They estimate that the study will take five years to complete.

Inquisitr previously covered developments in childhood cancer studies last year. A Utah-based study looked at statistics to determine that 52 percent of childhood cancer survivors ended up needing extensive hospitalizations later in life as adults.

Inquisitr also covered the upcoming human trials for vaccines against ovarian cancer. Previously, childhood cancer has also been linked to developmental delays. With the various physical strains that cancer survivors endure, it is becoming more important to quickly and effectively detect childhood cancer in an effort to treat it in its earliest stages.

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Childhood cancer affects millions of families each year. Cancer, in general, is a horrible disease to endure as a patient and as a loved one. Communities are consistently raising money and awareness of different types of cancer to find cures and better treatment.

Recently, Jessica Alba’s eco-friendly product company, The Honest Company, donated over $41,000 to The MaxLove Project. The charity is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for various childhood cancers and diseases.

The MaxLove Project is named after Max Wilford, a 7 year old brain cancer survivor. His mother, Audra DiPadova Wilford, founded the organization, which helps other parents by packing up gift boxes with information and products that may help to soften the stressful and painful stages of chemotherapy treatment.

[Photo courtesy of Look To The Stars]