A joint research study on pediatric brain tumors between Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 and Harvard Medical School affiliated Dana-Farber Children’s Hospital Cancer Center produced significant results. Scientists were able to identify mutations in BRAF, a major signaling molecule, and one of the most common abnormalities identified in pediatric low-grade gliomas. This project was conducted by combining samples from around the world. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics (vol.13, issue 6) in November 2011, and will be instrumental in improving patients’ outcomes for these types of brain tumors in children.

Two Egyptian physicians from Hospital 57357, Dr. Hala Taha and Dr. Madiha Mahmoud, participated in the study designed to identify abnormalities in the BRAF gene and its prevalence in Egyptian children with brain tumors. Their findings also identified some unique differences between patient samples from North America and further research is ongoing on these samples.

The impact of these findings are significant:

1. They permit the potential development of personalized treatment protocols, such as targeting therapies, to block the action of the mutating gene. Targeting therapies, unlike conventional therapies, can reduce the side effects of treatment while improving survival rates.

2. The shift from traditional tumor markers as a sole diagnostic indicator to new and more accurate molecular diagnostic methods will allow for improved diagnosis.

Thanks to the multi-disciplinary collaboration and an active research department instituted in 2009, Hospital 57357, which opened  its doors only five years ago, now has 21 published research papers, including some in renowned journals such as  the “European  J. of Nuclear Medicine”, the “ Childs Nerv Syst,” and the “Journal of NCI.“