Genes may be at the root of how children react to cancer treatments. A new study by the researchers funded by American Society of Hematology says that personalized medicine based on the genetic makeup of children may yield better results in treating childhood leukemia.
Researchers had looked into the records of 246 children suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The patients were divided into a high-risk group and a low risk group to decide on the intensity of therapy.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a form of cancer that affects the lymphocyte producing cells. In ALL, there is an accumulation of lymphocyte precursor cells, also called blast cells, in the bone marrow.
The researchers had used a process called genotyping, in which DNA drawn from the blood of the patients were screened for common genetic variations. The researchers had narrowed down their study on gene codes for enzymes, which are involved in the metabolism and reaction to chemotherapy drugs used in treating cancer.
The results had showed that for children in the lower risk group, having TYMS 3/3 genotype may be a risk factor for the disease. For the children in the high-risk group, GSTM1 non-null genotype was responsible for treatment failure and recurrence of the disease.
The research will be published in the new edition of the journal Blood.