Key St. Jude Genomic Discoveries



    Cancer is triggered by harmful mutations in the genes of normal cells. If scientists can pinpoint the underlying genetic mutations that cause a normal cell to become cancer, it has the potential to lead to new medicines and to optimize the use of current therapy. Although researchers worldwide have extensively studied cancer genetics, the vast numbers of genetic changes that lead to cancer have not been identified, and as a result, the true genetic causes of most cancers remain elusive.

    For the last two decades, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been the leader in identifying the underlying genetic abnormalities of childhood cancers. St. Jude researchers have made key discoveries about leukemia, brain tumors and the eye cancer retinoblastoma, as well as how children’s DNA influence their response to certain medications. With each piece of information uncovered, researchers devise new ways to fight cancer with more effective, less toxic treatments.

    Here are recent examples of how St. Jude genetic research is impacting childhood cancer:

    March 2010