October 28, 2016
(Scientific American) – Since 2009 researchers at Dana–Farber have sequenced brain tumors in nearly 1,000 children. Among kids with tumors classified as a low-grade glioma, up to 10 percent have a mutation in a gene called BRAF that is seen in some adult skin tumors. A few years ago, 32 children from Europe and North America with BRAF-positive gliomas entered a clinical trial of dabrafenib, a targeted therapy approved for melanoma patients with this mutation. At a conference in Copenhagen earlier this month, Kieran reported that 23 of the 32 kids improved on the BRAF-inhibiting drug—a response rate high enough that his team is offering continued therapy to trial participants with the mutation.