PHILADELPHIA - By studying tumor biology at the molecular level, researchers are gaining a deeper understanding of drug resistance - and how to avoid it by designing pediatric cancer treatments tailored to specific mutations in a child’s DNA. In a fruitful collaboration, pediatric oncologists and biochemists are targeting neuroblastoma, an often-deadly childhood cancer of the peripheral nervous system.

"This has been a terrific collaboration," said study co-leader Mark A. Lemmon, Ph.D., professor and chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. "We have been working for a long time to understand how growth factor receptors work as signaling 'machines.'"

"This scientific study allows us to move ahead in improving drug treatments for children with a particular form of neuroblastoma," said study co-leader Yaël P. Mossé, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

With the Mossé group, Lemmon focused on how control of these receptors is compromised in cancer, and can use the laboratory results to guide directly where to go next in the clinic.

The study appears in the Nov. 9 issue of Science Translational Medicine. For more information, please see the CHOP release.

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