News Release

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital research at AACR Annual Meeting

Peer-Reviewed Publication

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital research related to survivorship, precision medicine and a wide range of other topics will be presented and highlighted during the five-day American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting that begins Saturday in New Orleans.

Researchers will report on newly identified gene variants that impact breast cancer risk in survivors of childhood cancer whose treatment included radiation therapy. On Monday, Lindsay Morton, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, will discuss the research at an 8:30 a.m. press conference and at 3:20 p.m. in a session titled "New Molecular Advances in Pediatric Cancer." The study's senior author is Leslie Robison, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control. The study included survivors enrolled in the federally funded Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study (St. Jude LIFE). Both studies are led by St. Jude researchers. (Abstract 2691)

Other St. Jude presentations include:

Saturday, Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology, will give a 1:30 p.m. presentation titled "Visualization Tools for Viewing Integrative Genomic Data." Her talk is part of the methods workshop "Using Resources for the Interpretation of Variants in Cancer."

Sunday, Robison will discuss how research into childhood cancer survivorship is changing clinical care. His 2:15 p.m. presentation is in a session titled "The Science of Surviving: Looking Back to Inform the Future."

Also Sunday, Xiaotu Ma, Ph.D., of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology, will report on a novel analytical approach that enabled detection of pathogenic germline mosaic mutations using genome-wide sequencing. These are mutations that occur during development and are present in limited numbers of germ cells but become the dominant cell in tumors. The study revealed germline mosaic mutations in genes TP53, RB1 and IDH1 that masquerade as tumor-specific somatic mutations but predispose carriers and their future offspring to develop cancer. Ma's presentation is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. in a session co-chaired by Zhang. (Abstract 851)

Monday at 3:20 p.m., Zhang will present results of a pilot study that lays the groundwork for incorporating next-generation sequencing, including whole-genome sequencing, into patient care. Researchers used three different types of next-generation sequencing to search for mutations in the normal and tumor tissues of children with leukemia, brain and solid tumors. The findings showed that next-generation sequencing can be used to detect a wide range of mutations, including alterations that currently require multiple diagnostic tests to identify. The research will aid planning to incorporate next-generation sequencing into clinical care. (Abstract 2628)

Also Monday, Charles Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., director of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, will chair and present research as part of the major symposium "Targeted Approaches for Cancers with Quiet Genomes." During the 10:30 a.m. session, Roberts will discuss how mutations in SW1/SNF (BAF) chromatin remodeling complexes drive cancer and possible treatment strategies that target the mechanisms involved. Chromatin remodeling complexes refashion how DNA is packaged in cells, which affects gene expression. (SY 15-01)

Tuesday, Jun J. Yang, Ph.D., associate member of the St. Jude Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will discuss mercaptopurine intolerance in pediatric leukemia patients of East Asian ancestry. His presentation is part of the "Minorities in Cancer Research Scientific Symposium: Ethnic Specific Modifiers of Cancer Risk." He will report findings that show genetic variations in the NUDT15 gene can alter metabolism of this important class of chemotherapy agents and leave patients at risk for treatment-disrupting toxicity. Evidence suggests the high-risk variations are more common among individuals of Asian ancestry.


For more information about these and other St. Jude researchers participating or attending the AACR annual meeting, please contact the media relations staff listed below. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.

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