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This Week in Science: Dec 7, 2018

In Science this week, an international research team reports sequencing the genomes of hundreds of neuroblastomas — a pediatric tumor of the sympathetic nervous system with substantially varying clinical courses — revealing molecular signals that may help guide treatment. The scientists sequenced 416 pretreatment neuroblastomas and found that patients whose tumors lacked telomere maintenance mechanisms had an excellent prognosis compared with patients whose tumors harbored telomere maintenance mechanisms. Notably, patient survival rates were lowest for those whose tumors had telomere maintenance mechanisms in combination with RAS and/or p53 pathway mutations. Based on the findings, the scientists propose a mechanistic classification of neuroblastoma that may benefit the clinical management of patients.

 And in Science Translational Medicine, researchers from the University of Montreal present a proteogenomic approach for identifying tumor-specific antigens (TSAs) that hold promise for use in cancer immunotherapy. With their method, they identify 40 TSAs in mouse cancer cells and seven human lung cancer and leukemia cell lines — about 90 percent of which derived from allegedly noncoding regions and would have been missed by standard exome-based approaches. The team also shows that vaccinating mice with three of the TSAs conferred various degrees of protection against lymphoma cells and extended survival in the animals. The authors say their technique help in the identification and prioritization of actionable human TSAs. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.