Childhood cancers have been increasing at an alarming rate. A global network of 171 organizations from 88 countries is working toward the goal to eliminate the pain that children undergo due to cancer. The network has also focused on achieving at least 60 percent of the survival rate of cancer-diagnosed children by 2030. According to Dr. James Downing, President and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, the cure rate of children with cancer is 80 percent, which is, one in five children may die due to cancer.
Neuroblastoma—a common tumor type in infants—develops fetal nerve cells. The clinical course is highly variable. Some neuroblastomas will disappear without any treatment, whereas few are fatal despite the treatment. Ackermann et al. identified the molecular features by sequencing more than 400 pretreatment neuroblastomas patients. The sequencing has characterized three distinct clinical outcomes. Cancer cells present in children adopt telomere maintenance mechanisms to avoid telomere shortening. In most of the tumor cells, the telomere length has been maintained carefully by reactivating the telomerase. When the telomere length goes independent, the part results in mortality.
When a person has low telomere maintenance mechanisms, he has low-risk tumors in his body. High-risk tumors harbor telomere maintenance mechanism in combination with RAS and p53 pathway mutations. In order to identify the genetic factors of different tumor subtypes, international research endeavor, researchers from Charite–Universitatsmedizin Berlin has undertaken a research. It helps the clinicians to adapt to the treatment according to the tumor type.
The activation of telomere maintenance mechanism will help in developing malignant tumors. Introducing new treatments in the childhood cancer diagnosis may block the pathways constituting toward the telomere maintenance mechanism.
The incidence of childhood cancers has been increased by 13 percent as per the recent analysis from 1980 to 2010. In the United States, there were approximately 15,700 new cases in patients under the age of 21. Medulloblastoma, for example, has been diagnosed in about 250 patients in the United States. President Trump recently proposed $500 million to allow clinicians to study childhood cancer. The fund may help in introducing new treatments to increase the cure rate of childhood cancers.