Neuroblastoma is a common childhood cancer and is responsible for 15% of all cancer-related deaths in children. The Children’s Cancer Research Unit’s neuroblastoma research team, led by Dr Loretta Lau, is focused on studying telomeres (the special structures that protect the DNA of a cell) in neuroblastoma.
As part of normal ageing, telomeres get shorter to a point when the cell eventually dies. In contrast, cancer cells can grow indefinitely by maintaining the length of telomeres to achieve immortality.
Studying telomeres in neuroblastoma tumours with different behaviours will help us understand why some, but not all, of these tumours behave so aggressively. Based on this knowledge, better treatments can be designed to improve the cure rate.