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Gene Abnormality Found to Predict Childhood Leukemia Relapse
Date:1/7/2009

he gene, some that involve the entire IKAROS gene and others that involve only parts of the gene. Because the genetic alterations in IKAROS in ALL are not uniform or limited to a single mutation or deletion, it may be necessary to develop a panel of different tests to detect IKAROS lesions and identify which patients are at highest risk for relapse.

This research was done as part of the NCI Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) initiative, which seeks to utilize the study of genomics to identify therapeutic targets in order to develop more effective treatments for childhood cancers. The first two cancers being studied in the program are ALL and neuroblastoma, a cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children. Combined, these two cancers account for 3,000 new cases each year, and in both cancers, there are some children who have a very favorable prognosis and others who are at high risk for treatment failure. By determining the genetic factors that distinguish these groups, the hope is that researchers can use this information to improve patient outcomes and develop better treatments, particularly for those in the high-risk group.

"In the long term, our goal is to develop effective therapeutic interventions, directed toward vulnerabilities that leukemia cells acquire as a result of the genomic abnormalities identified through the TARGET initiative," said Malcolm Smith, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program. These are the first results to come out of this initiative. For more information about TARGET, please visit http://target.cancer.gov

Reference: Mullighan CG, Su X, Zhang J, Radtke I, Phillips LAA, Miller CB, Ma J, Liu W, Cheng C, Schulman BA, Harvey RC, Chen I, Clifford RJ, Carroll WL, Reaman G, Bowman WP, Devidas M, Gerhard DS, Yang W, Re
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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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