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A look at the dramatic improvement in pediatric cancer survival rates

In the 40 years since the National Cancer Act was signed, which provided billions of federal dollars for cancer research, there has been a dramatic shift in the survival rates of most childhood cancers. A segment airing last night on PBS NewsHour examined the positive developments in pediatric cancer research and featured Stanford pediatric oncologist Michael Link, MD. During the segment, Link explains how a better understanding of the nature of cancer has helped oncologists tailor treatments to more effectively target the disease. He says:

Cancers are diseases of our genetics, of our DNA. And we develop mutations in those cancer cells. And those mutations are what cause the cancer and what drive the cancer. And we now understand, for example, in a disease like leukemia, that there are multiple different types of leukemia, even though they look the same under the microscope, which are driven by a different one of these DNA mutations.

The story of advancements in cancer research continues tonight when PBS NewsHour looks at certain adult cancers and effort to develop breakthrough treatments. Tune in tonight at 6 p.m.

Previously: Helping kids love life after cancer, Surviving survival: The new Stanford Medicine magazine is out, A less toxic, targeted therapy for childhood brain cancer and Surviving pediatric brain cancer

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