Neuroblastoma (NB) is a deadly childhood cancer arising from immature nerve cells. One of the methods of treating NB is by inducing cell differentiation, the process of specializing to form a specific cell type. Inducing differentiation allows for better treatment outcomes and a lower chance of relapse, but the current drug (CRA) has significant side effects. I investigated how epigenetics – the control of gene expression – could be used to treat NB by “turning on” genes responsible for cell differentiation silenced by the disease. In my testing, the drug DZNep was more effective in inducing NB cell death at a lower concentration than CRA, with the added benefit of increasing cell differentiation. As a result, DZNep has the potential to be an effective treatment for NB in the future.


Colette Benko