Retinoic acid is used to treat a type of cancer called neuroblastoma in children. The tumor results from blocking nerve cell development.
Scientists at St. Jude and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute studied the problem. They learned how retinoic acid changes tumor cells in children with high-risk neuroblastoma. The drug adjusts gene expression, including of a powerful cancer gene. Tumor cells stop multiplying and become mature nerve cells.
“The results show how a common neuroblastoma drug rewires circuits in tumor cells and causes a shift in cell identity,” said Brian J. Abraham, PhD, of St. Jude Computational Biology. “It also gives us another way to assess novel therapies in the future.”
This research appeared in Science Advances.
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