Researchers have used a detailed genetic analysis of the most common form of brain cancer in children (called medulloblastoma) to devise potentially new therapeutic strategies. If further tests confirm the findings, it could lead to novel treatments to mitigate the more severe side effects of cancer treatment.

Why it matters: Brain cancer in children is a profoundly difficult burden for both parents and doctors alike. The current medical treatments and therapies for this type of brain cancer in children have unpleasant side effects that can impair a child's quality of life following the treatments, the researchers wrote in Nature.

Compounding the problem is the fact that this type of cancer has several different genetic sub-types, which means that the current treatments are forced to take a "one-size-fits-all" approach with chemotherapy that leads to potentially toxic side effects. The new research should help scientists properly characterize each of these genetic sub-types, which in turn may allow for targeted chemotherapy treatment strategies that could minimize the toxic side effects.

What they found: The researchers looked at the genetic foundations and sequencing for 491 individual medulloblastoma cases; and at the expression of particular genes in another 1,256 cases. From there they were able to characterize all of the cancer sub-groups and the different genetic alterations associated with them. They even found several new sub-types that had not been previously identified, which they said shows this type of brain cancer in children should be considered a collection of diseases rather than just one cancer.

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Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.