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Developing new treatments for neuroblastoma through the presence of MYCN

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that affects children, usually before they are 5 years old. It is a very rare disease compared to many cancers - only about 100 children are diagnosed each year in the UK. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that develops from the cells that are left over from the child's development in the womb. MYCN is a gene that is well known to be involved in neuroblastoma growth. Many neuroblastoma tumours have too many copies of the MYCN gene, which is referred to as MYCN amplification, and this has been linked to a more aggressive form of the disease. Dr Hart is using his Worldwide Cancer Research grant to develop a new way of specifically treating neuroblastoma tumours by attacking them through MYCN. He has developed a molecule that can block the MYCN gene, and he will investigate new technology to get this molecule into tumour cells effectively, by wrapping the molecule up in a tiny capsule of fat and protein. If this way of delivering the molecule works, it might also prove a useful way to deliver other types of drugs to treat different cancer types.