Presented by Logan Spector, PhD
Professor, Director, Division of Epidemiology/Clinical
Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota
Cancer in children is thankfully very rare, but every occurrence is a tragedy. For fifty years, researchers have sought their cause(s) so as to enable early detection and, someday, prevention. It is apparent that most types of childhood cancer, comprising most patients, initiate in utero – but is this due to environment, genetics, or just sheer chance? And since far more children show evidence of early carcinogenesis at birth (for leukemia, at least) than develop cancer as children, what in postnatal life causes progression to overt disease? In rare conditions, twin studies are uninformative, so we have previously had no data addressing the heritability of childhood cancer. However through the combination of inter- and intranational comparisons of incidence, fifty years of analytic epidemiology, and, in the last decade, genomic studies, we are now approaching definitive answers to the questions posed above. The answers will surprise you.
Free and open to the public.