In a Childhood Cancer, Basic Biology Offers
Clues to Better Treatments
Focusing on Mutations, Researchers from Penn and CHOP
Advance Individualized Treatments for Neuroblastoma
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.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 16 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $398 million awarded in the 2012 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2012, Penn Medicine provided $827 million to benefit our community.