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Eighteen genes identified that contribute to childhood brain tumor ependymoma

Portrait of Richard Gilberson, MD, PhD, and Kumarasamypet Mohankumar, PhD

Richard Gilberson, MD, PhD, St. Jude scientific and Comprehensive Cancer Center director (left), and Kumarasamypet Mohankumar, PhD, one of the study’s first authors (right).

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have identified eight tumor-promoting oncogenes and 10 tumor suppressor genes that converge on a handful of cell functions and help to launch the pediatric brain tumor ependymoma. The study appears today in the scientific journal Nature Genetics.

The findings dramatically expand understanding of ependymoma, which until now has been linked to alterations in just two genes. The tumor is discovered in 150 to 200 children and adults annually in the U.S., where it is the third most common pediatric brain tumor. Researchers expect insight from this study will lead to new chemotherapy agents and more effective treatment of a cancer that remains incurable in about 28 percent of pediatric patients.

June 15, 2015

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