Protein analysis uncovers new medulloblastoma subtypes

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 16:30 in Health & Medicine

Two patients with the same kind of tumor can have very different experiences. One patient’s cancer may progress quickly while the other grows slowly. Treatments may shrink tumors or have no effect at all. And some patients survive while others don’t. Efforts to profile tumors at the DNA, RNA, or epigenetic levels have revealed subtypes of tumors that help oncologists diagnose and prognose cancer, but it’s often unclear how to turn that molecular knowledge into new therapeutics. The problem is especially acute for cancers with no clear genetic cause like medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor with toxic treatments and unpredictable outcomes. Now a new effort to look beyond the genome and analyze the tumor’s proteins — the functional players of the cell — has revealed previously unrecognized subtypes of medulloblastoma that could be relevant in the clinic. Led by scientists at MIT, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the study combined clinical,...

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