In a world first discovery, New Zealand scientists may change the way children suffering from a rare form of kidney cancer are treated.
Wilms tumor, a kidney cancer with numerous subtypes, is one of the most common early childhood cancers, usually affecting children under 10 years old.
Researchers at Otago University have uncovered mutations in the gene called TRIM28 - which causes a subtype of Wilms cancer, lead author and Otago PhD candidate Ben Halliday says.
- New cancer test could save thousands of lives
- Gut Cancer NZ launches campaign to improve survival rates
If a child does get a Wilms tumour, it will almost certainly be easily curable, Mr Halliday says.
"Until now there has been no good way to diagnose it with certainty.
"We believe our discovery will give paediatric oncologists the confidence to treat these children with surgery alone.
"By omitting chemotherapy, the children can avoid further long-term damaging health consequences," Mr Halliday says.
The study, published in PLoS Genetics, focused on five children with the Wilms tumour subtype, including two children from one New Zealand family.