Genetic profile clue to cancer

Genetic mutations behind the most common cause of child brain cancer have been identified by scientists, leading to hope for effective treatments.

Researchers found that several mutations could lead to tumours, known as medulloblastoma, suggesting that they may be genetically distinct, with different prognoses.

About two-thirds of patients live five years past diagnosis, but many suffer lasting physical or intellectual side effects from their treatments.

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But drugs tailored to a tumour’s genetic profile have the potential to save more patients while reducing side effects.

Professor Yoon-Jae Cho, of Stanford University, said: “Our plan is, within one to two years, to be able to offer kids a new set of compounds with a clear biological rationale.

“For some of these kids we don’t have many, if any, effective and durable treatment options.”