by Professor Deborah Tweddle
Thanks to our research, we now understand more about the genetics and treatment of neuroblastoma, so the chance of survival has increased for many children with high-risk neuroblastoma like James, particularly through the introduction of immunotherapy. However, only around 50 per cent of patients with high risk neuroblastoma – where the disease has spread to distant sites in a child over 18 months of age – are cured of their disease. In addition, those who survive often have long-term toxicities which cause problems such as hearing impairment and reduced fertility.
The neuroblastoma research group at Newcastle University is helping develop targeted and less toxic therapies to hit the genetic abnormalities present in neuroblastoma. These genetic abnormalities are also used to determine different levels of risk for different patients which in turn determines how much treatment they need. In addition we hope to discover new targets using novel cellular models of neuroblastoma.
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