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The Baby's Advantage


Neuroblastomas most often affect children under 10, but a new study in JAMA shows that the younger a child is, the higher the chances of survival, reports HealthDay's Serena Gordon. That may be because, the researchers found, teens and young adults with neuroblastoma are more likely to have a newly discovered genetic mutation in the ATRX gene. None of the infants the researchers studied had the mutation, while 17 percent of the kids under 12, and 100 percent of the teens and young adults studied did have it. "In infants, neuroblastoma is often treatable. In older patients, it tends to be more clinically aggressive," study co-author Alberto Pappo, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, tells Gordon. "About 90 percent of neuroblastomas happen in children less than 10 years old. When it happens in teens and young adults, they usually tend to have poorer clinical outcomes. They relapse over and over again. They can survive for many years with the disease, but they ultimately die of the disease."

The ATRX discovery is still preliminary, and the researchers don't yet know how it affects survival in older neuroblastoma patients. "Finding will likely spur more research, and could potentially be used to develop a screening test to determine who might have more (or less) aggressive cancer," Gordon writes.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.