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Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer Share This OHSU Content

02/18/11  Portland, Ore.

Knowing the genetic and cellular origins of cancers helps clinicians design specific therapies that work best for each individual cancer

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have defined the cell of origin for a kind of cancer called sarcoma. In a study published today as the Featured Article in the journal Cancer Cell, they report that childhood and adult sarcomas are linked in their biology, mutations and the cells from which these tumors first start. These findings may lead to non-chemotherapy medicines that can inhibit “molecular targets” such as growth factor receptors, thereby stopping or eradicating the disease.

Childhood muscle cancer, or rhabdomyosarcoma, is a condition that when spread throughout the body has a low survival rate — just 20 percent to 40 percent. In adults with soft tissue sarcomas, survival can be even lower. Now, for the first time, the researchers have shown from where these tumors arise and what drives them to grow and spread.

The complete OHSU media release is available online.