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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

Researchers identify possible approach to block medulloblastoma growth

Treatment for the most common type of brain tumour in children, medulloblastoma, is at a point where most patients survive long-term however almost all patients come through their treatment changed.  

While as many as 80 percent of children with medulloblastoma survive long-term with radiation and chemotherapy there is a need to improve therapies in order to limit debilitating side effects from those treatments, as well as to develop treatments that work for children whose cancer doesn’t respond to treatment.

Now researchers have identified a potential approach to stop the growth of this tumour type.

Timothy Gerson, MD, PhD from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Centre reported in the journal Development that by blocking a signal called GSK-3, they could control tumour growth in a subtype of medulloblastoma. Their preclinical findings may provide clues to a possible new targeted treatment strategy. “Our goal would be to find ways to treat the disease that would provide fewer side effects” he said.

“This work could lead to new insights into developmental brain malformations and also to new treatments for medulloblastoma that may spare the severe side effects of radiation and typical chemotherapy,” Gerson continued.

Researchers have already begun work to evaluate this treatment type further in laboratory models. 

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