Childhood Cancer

New Gene for Childhood Cancer Neuroblastoma is Discovered

Pediatric cancer researchers identified the LMO1 gene, located on chromosome 11, to be a contributor of the cancer known as Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in early childhood. However, Neuroblastoma has no known cure. Scientists found that the LMO1 gene increases the risk of getting Neuroblastoma. It also causes the disease to get progressively worse in a child that already has it. Neuroblastoma starts as a tumor in the abdomen and it accounts for 10% of childhood cancer deaths. This gene acts as an oncogene. An oncogene drives the biological changes that make tumors grow and spread. This discovery can lead to more strong powerful treatments to cure the disease.

This relates to Bioscience because discoveries in the variations of this gene can lead scientists to finding a cure for Neuroblastoma or finding a treatment. Also, scientists used various genetic tools to decrease the LMO1’s activity. This gene is also found in other cancers like leukemia. This discovery can maybe lead to a cure for childhood cancers. Scientists can use the information they collect from this gene and use it to investigate other cancers.

I think this discovery is good because this puts researcher’s one step closer to a cure for cancer. This is also good because the death rate for this cancer is very high. If they succeed at finding a cure, more children will survive. If they find better treatments then children may not be diagnosed with Neuroblastoma anymore as long as researchers can find a treatment to prevent it.   Hakon Hakonarson says “This is a prime example in which integrative genomics, combining SNP discovery arrays with gene expression arrays and other functional approaches, holds great promise in expanding our knowledge base for translating genetic discovery to clinical uses.”