AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Molecule Stops Fatal Pediatric Brain Tumor

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Children under 10 years old are primary affected

Northwestern Medicine scientists have found a molecule that stops the growth of an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. The tumor is always fatal and primarily strikes children under 10 years old. Every year, about 300 children under the age of 10 years old in the U.S. develop a tumor referred to as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). “This tumor kills every single kid who gets DIPG within one year. No one survives,” said the study’s first author, Andrea Piunti, a postdoctoral fellow in Shilatifard’s lab in biochemistry and molecular genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the most effective molecule so far in treating this tumor,” said senior author Ali Shilatifard, the Robert Francis Furchgott Professor of Biochemistry and Pediatrics and the chair of biochemistry and molecular genetics at Feinberg. “Every other therapy that has been tried so far has failed.” Radiation therapy only prolongs patients’ survival by a few months, he noted.

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