View Full Version : Stem Cells Improve Child Brain Cancer Outcomes

09-08-2006, 09:49 AM
Stem Cells Improve Child Brain Cancer Outcomes

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A highly targeted treatment that relies on the patient's own stem cells improves outcomes for children with brain tumors called medulloblastomas, U.S. researchers report.
Children with high-risk medulloblastoma have a 30 percent to 40 percent chance of surviving to five years, and chemotherapy usually lasts for about 12 months.

However, "not only can we now cure about 70 percent of children with high-risk medulloblastoma, we can also cure more than 80 percent of those with standard-risk disease with a shorter, and therefore more convenient, chemotherapy approach," lead researcher Dr. Amar Gajjar, from St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, said in a prepared statement.

In this new treatment regimen, radiation therapy is tailored to the severity of the disease and is then followed by a shorter course of chemotherapy than used by doctors in the past. The new regimen resulted in substantially improved survival, say researchers reporting in the Sept. 7 online edition of The Lancet Oncology.

The shorter course of chemotherapy is made possible because stem cells taken from the child before chemotherapy are implanted after each round of chemotherapy, essentially allowing the child's body to recover from the damage caused by chemotherapy before the next round begins.

Link: http://www.wnem.com/Global/story.asp?S=5379478&nav=menu97_2_4