Dr. Tobey MacDonald of the Children's National Medical Center explains how new discoveries of the Human Genome Project has helped researchers figure out what makes brain tumors tick.
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What makes a brain tumor grow? Dr. Tobey MacDonald: With the completion of the human genome project, we are actually been able to interrogate the genetic information what makes the brain tumor actually tick, what makes it grow. Understanding that information will now able to design drugs and strategies to target that particular information, so that we could use that for novel strategy. So in my laboratory, we are actually finding that a particular protein that brain tumors make, most malignant brain tumor in childhood called Medulloblastoma makes the protein called Platelet Derived Growth Factor Receptor. We have strategies now to take drugs to block that proteins function to make the brain tumor stop growing and potentially stop moving to different locations, without the use of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It's still very early in its development but I think this holds the key in the future to cancer treatment in both children and adults that will be able to design and use these new drugs and these new strategies to treat tumors that at one time are incurable.

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