Article Abstract

Avatars to personalized medicine: of mice and men

Authors: Matthias Ilmer, Michael Berger


Hepatoblastoma is a paradox. Although it is the most common liver tumor in children, its incidence of only 1 in 1–1.5 million makes it an exceptionally rare tumor even within the rare group of pediatric solid organ cancers. For example, while there are roughly 700 new cases of neuroblastoma and about 600 new cases of Wilms tumor in the United States each year, there are only about 50 cases of hepatoblastoma in the same time period. Despite its rarity—and this is the seemingly paradox aspect of hepatoblastoma—this tumor has attracted a steep increase in scientific attention both within the field of pediatric oncology and surgery, but more importantly, way past their borders and into the field of cancer research in general. The general attention to this rare tumor stems from a successful implementation of three essential components for the development of innovative anticancer strategies over the last two decades: (I) international collaboration; (II) interdisciplinary cooperation; and (III) translational research.