Monday, August 17, 2015

New Treatment for (some) Medulloblastoma tumors

Here’s some good news I just read on, “A targeted therapy already used to treat advanced skin cancer is also effective against the most common subtype of the brain tumor medulloblastoma in adults and should be considered for treatment of newly diagnosed patients, according to research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.” Here’s a link to the article:
To be clear, in case you aren’t a regular reader of my blog, I hate brain tumors, and I especially hate brain tumors that attack children. Unfortunately, that’s just what medulloblastoma does. According to the article, “Medulloblastoma develops in the cerebellum at the base of the skull and involves four different subtypes, each with different genetic alterations. The tumor is diagnosed in as many as 400 children and adolescents annually in the U.S., making it the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. (I added the bold type)

I hate that. Some poor child who hasn’t done anything to anybody gets whacked with a sinister, deadly, uncaring malignant brain tumor. Every time I read about these my heart goes out to the kids, their parents, their family and friends.

As usual with brain tumors, the treatment is not a blanket cure for all afflicted as the research team reports that “"While it was disappointing that not all medulloblastoma patients with the SHH subtype will benefit, for the right patients these results mark the beginning of a new era of targeted therapy for treatment of this tumor," said first and corresponding author Giles Robinson, M.D., an assistant member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology. ”The findings also highlight the importance of ongoing research to identify the genetic alterations that define who the right patients are and help identify those most likely to benefit from this drug as well as those for whom different therapy is needed.”

Right about now you might be asking yourself the question “What is the “SHH subtype?” or some other important and related question. 

If you’ve read any of my other postings, you will know that I haven’t a clue. But if you are a scientist or doctor of have taken a lot of medical coursework, here’s a link to the journal abstract in the Journal of Clinical Oncology which explains the :

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