Categorising childhood glioneuronal brain tumours according to their genetic profile could mean children have treatments tailored to their tumour type.
Dr Thomas Jacques from the UCL Institute of Child Health will be developing pioneering techniques to analyse the genetic make-up of childhood glioneuronal tumours and increase our understanding of this disease.
Glioneuronal tumours account for up to a fifth of childhood brain tumours. Very little is known about this tumour type, which does not form from the same cells as other common childhood brain tumours.
The new technique will identify distinguishing features – a genetic fingerprint - that will allow the tumour to be categorised into different 'families'. The team will also investigate whether the tumour 'family' is linked to patient outcomes and disease severity.
The team hope that a greater understanding of the genetic profiles of glioneuronal tumours will lead to patients being given the most appropriate treatment for their tumour type. The team will also be investigating how the genetic profile of glioneuronal tumours relates to symptoms such as epilepsy and seizures, which are commonly experienced by patients.
Glioneuronal tumours can be low or high grade: low grade tumours often cause epilepsy-like symptoms and high grade tumours have a very poor prognosis. It is hoped that Dr Jacques' work will enhance our understanding of the mechanisms behind glioneuronal tumours and lead to new and more effective treatment options.
Research is the only way we will discover kinder, more effective treatments and, ultimately, stamp out brain tumours – for good! However, brain tumours are complex and research in to them takes a great deal of time and money.
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