Scientists at Virginia Tech’s Virginia Bioinformatics Institute working with the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center have found a new way to diagnose brain cancer based on genetic markers found in “junk DNA.”
The finding, recently published in Oncotarget, could revolutionize the way doctors treat certain brain cancers.
Brain cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in children. Overall, 70,000 new patients were diagnosed with primary brain tumors in 2013, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. However, only about a third turn out to be malignant.
Ordinarily, when a patient shows symptoms of a brain tumor, an MRI is performed to locate tumors, but it cannot determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant, often necessitating costly and occasionally dangerous or inconclusive biopsies.
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