Medical Research Council - Clinical Services Centre

Researching Rare Cancers
09 December 2016

Researching Rare Cancers

Cancer isn’t one disease, but many with different characteristics and treatments. Because they’re not as widely studied, rarer cancers can have higher mortality rates. This is the case with CNS-PNETs, certain types of brain cancer in children. However, scientists recently developed a very similar type of cancer in zebrafish – shown here, with the fuchsia area marking the tumour. These can be used to test potential treatments, and researchers have already found one interesting candidate. A compound that inhibits a gene called MEK – already being looked at as a potential treatment for other cancers – successfully treated the cancer in a majority of the fish. An exciting subject for future research, this model could soon be used to test cells from the tumours of individual patients, helping develop treatments that are personalised to work best for them.

Written by Esther Redhouse White

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