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New understanding of the epigenome of a brain tumor

10 September 2018 13:05

Brain cancer is the most common form of cancer in children. Due to the large number of different types of brain tumor for effective treatment requires a correct diagnosis. One of the projects supported by the EU, provided the tools to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of patient with a brain tumor.

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Epigenetic changes can be observed in the very early stages of neoplasia in stem cells. It is important to note that the changes are reversible and can be cured. In children, brain tumor is a leading cause of death from cancer. EPIBRAIN purpose of a project supported by the EU, is to study the epigenome of brain tumors to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of patient response to treatment. Researchers are also trying to decipher the role of epigenetic aberrations in tumors, in order to improve survival rates and quality of life of patients.

Brain tumors in children and adults differ at the molecular level. "The model system for the study of brain tumors in children under conditions that retain features of the cells are not available. Thus, we have optimized cell culture conditions. These crops are now being used to develop therapeutic purposes, "- explain the researchers.

Since the exact diagnosis based on histopathologic evaluation is not always possible, the researchers used DNA methylation profiles of brain tumors. Thus, they were able to develop and diagnostic classifier called MethPed.

Currently, the efficiency of the classifier is evaluated on a national study in which all patients studied tumors to improve current diagnostic. National study is ongoing and will be completed in the next few years. The research team continues to experiment aimed at determining why and how cells become tumor.

But not only the study opens new avenues for scientists. Another result of the project is to coordinate the research team and the continued cooperation. "I have been teaching and organized a new training course for the transfer of knowledge to other researchers from the University of Gothenburg," - explains Dr. Karen Helena, the lead researcher. She adds that the Study Group at the Center for Salgrenska cancer, which now consists of 12 members.



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