Researchers Develop DNA Sequencing-Based Method to Detect Brain Tumour
AChinese-led research team has made a breakthrough in the detection of brain tumours by using sequencing of patients’ tumor-deprived DNA.
Brainstem gliomas are tumors difficult to cut out and have limited treatment options due to their location in the brain. The disease occurs frequently in children, and people with it survive for less than one year.
Despite numerous clinical trials, chemotherapy has proven ineffective. Traditional methods to obtain tumor tissue include surgery and biopsy for examination, but they are risky, painful and costly.
Researchers from the Beijing Tiantan Hospital, along with the Duke University Medical Centre of the United States, found that sequencing of circulating tumor DNA, or tumour-derived genes, from the brain fluid, could help gain tumour genetic information and track tumor progression.
“But the sequencing method is cheaper, faster and less invasive,” said lead researcher Zhang Liwei.
“It would bring revolutionary changes to the diagnosis and treatment of brainstem gliomas in the future.”
Helmut Bertalanffy, director of the Department of Vascular Neurosurgery at the International Neuroscience Institute, said that the research was “an enormous help for patients suffering from such kinds of tumors,” and could “replace the surgical intervention for biopsy.”
The research was recently published in the international journal
A 3-year-old girl from East China’s Shandong province has become the youngest breast cancer survivor after undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu province.
In March, the mother of the girl Yanyan noticed some red and sticky stains on her singlet and in the following days, the stains frequently appeared on the girl’s clothes.
The mother became more scared when she found there was something on the girl’s left chest, and the lump was soft and could move slightly. The mother took the girl to hospital for examinations.
Doctors at some hospitals told the mother that the girl could be maturing early and asked her not to add too much dietary supplements for the toddler. However, the mother realised that she hardly added any supplements for her daughter, and she decided to take her to other hospitals, and finally they went to Jiangsu Province Hospital where doctors diagnosed her the disease.
Doctors detected the lump in Yanyan’s left breast and a swollen lymph node in her armpit. A biopsy confirmed that the lump was a kind of breast cancer that is commonly associated with adult women. Yanyan had secretory breast carcinoma, a rare and slowgrowing type of cancer, according to doctors, and she was the third and youngest patient of the disease in about half a century.
The doctors at the Jiangsu hospital contacted the experts at Harvard Medical School and held video conferences to diagnose and discuss the treatment plans.
Considering the surgery effects on the girl as she grows up, the team finally adopted a plan of removing the lump while preserving the mammary glands.
The breast cancer specialist Tang Jinhai at the Jiangsu hospital carried out the surgery. After removing the bad tissues from the breast, doctors also took the lymph node for a biopsy. The biopsy showed negative, which meant that the cancer had not extended to other places and doctors did not need to cut more tissues. Yanyan, who left the hospital Monday, is set to have a full recovery now.
Yanyan, 3, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu province.