Scientists studied one of the most common forms of childhood cancer and its progress in the body. Neuroblastoma is a very rare type of cancer that affects the nervous system. Neuroblastoma mainly occurs in babies and young children. Moreover, it originates in the adrenal gland but spreads throughout the body. It mainly spread to bones and bone marrow. The survival chance of Neuroblastoma patients is only 50%. Experts from Newcastle University, UK, studied neuroblastoma cells that circulate through the blood. Researchers released this study today in Clinical cancer research. Experts found the circulation of neuroblastoma tumor cells in this way. According to them, it is possible to test the effect of newer treatments without a biopsy.
According to Professor Deborah Tweddle, it is possible to personalize the treatment based on the number of circulating tumor cells. The number of tumor cells indicates the strength of the disease. She added this study improved their understanding of the disease. Moreover, they found why some young children might be at high risk of the disease advancing. The treatment of an individual will be based on the number of tumor cells circulating in the body. Also, scientists want to make sure the excellent quality of life of patients who survive the disease.
Scientists took blood and bone marrow samples of 40 patients at five pediatric oncology centers. Twenty-three patients out of 40 had high-risk neuroblastoma at diagnosis. Researchers analyzed the samples using the Image Stream Flow Cytometer run to count the number of cells in the blood. Besides, they labeled the tumor cells with an antibody against a molecule called GD2. The anti-GD2 antibody therapy is now routinely used for the treatment. Moreover, experts collected plasma of the blood after the removal of the tumor cells. However, they still could find some traces of tumor DNA. The test conducted on tumor DNA shows the similarity between the DNA and primary tumor cells. Further research on this will study a much larger number of patients.