Nav: Home

New treatment approach for leukemia

January 24, 2019

The BCR/ABL gene, which does not occur among healthy people, has been shown to be a causative agent in the pathogenesis of B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. The gene causes white blood cells to become leukemia cells that reproduce out of control. Earlier studies by the research group of Veronika Sexl at Vetmeduni Vienna had already shown that the STAT5 transcription factor was essential for the development of BCR/ABL-induced leukemia. The solution seemed simple: remove STAT5 and the tumor cell dies.

STAT5A and STAT5B: Not everything that looks the same is the same

But STAT5 actually consists of two genes: STAT5A and STAT5B. The two are very similar and, being more than 90 % identical, had been considered to be functionally equal. Research had therefore focused primarily on the function of STAT5A, as it had appeared to be of greater importance.

In their recently published study in the journal Leukemia, the researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna wanted to know for sure. Veronika Sexl from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Vetmeduni Vienna was the director of the study: "In our previous studies, we always turned off both genes, as they are situated next to each other on the chromosome. What is exciting is that in recent years cases have been found of patients with mutations that result in STAT5 activation and are assumed to drive disease. Surprisingly, these mutations were found at a much higher frequency in STAT5B than in STAT5A." This finding led the research team to ask: Why are mutations found in STAT5B and not in STAT5A? And why is overactivation of STAT5B "good" for the tumor cell?

STAT5B: Therapeutic approach: new, precision medicine strategies

The Vetmeduni Vienna research team probed these questions by investigating the different function of STAT5A and STAT5B in a mouse model and in human leukemia cells. The absence of STAT5A led to a decrease in cell survival and the formation of colonies of malignant cancer cells. Even more significant effects were observed in the absence of STAT5B. In the mouse model, loss of STAT5B increased interferon response and suppressed transformation. The opposite scenario was the case in patients with overactive STAT5B: the interferon response against tumor growth was suppressed, and transformation was enhanced.

Andrea Hölbl-Kovacic from Vetmeduni Vienna: "Our data show that STAT5A and STAT5B are twins with different personalities, and that STAT5B facilitates leukemogenesis in BCR/ABL leukemia. Our findings might help explain the high frequency of STAT5B mutations in hematopoietic tumors."

According to the researchers, this may be of direct clinical relevance for patients, as a better understanding of the complex role of STAT5B could enable the development of precision medicine strategies to treat disease.
-end-


University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna

Related Leukemia Cells Articles:

More selective elimination of leukemia stem cells and blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy donor can help patients suffering from acute leukemia.
Scientists modify CAR-T cells to target multiple sites on leukemia cells
In a preclinical study, scientists engineer new CAR-T cells to attack three sites on leukemia cells, instead of one.
Study reveals properties of cells fated to relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Researchers have found that genetically defined subpopulations of leukemia cells present at diagnosis have distinct characteristics that lead to relapse.
Scientists discover how rogue communications between cells lead to leukemia
New research has deciphered how rogue communications in blood stem cells can cause leukemia.
Cocktail proves toxic to leukemia cells
Rice bioscientists find a way to predict the sensitivity of acute myeloid leukemia to mitochondria-damaging molecules and develop cocktails to fight the cancer.
Reversing t cells' misunderstood rep in responding to a pediatric leukemia
A study of pediatric patients with leukemia demonstrates that they were able to generate T cells against tumor-associated mutations, contradicting previous assumptions that T cells cannot be effectively unleashed on pediatric tumors.
How 'sleeper cell' cancer stem cells are maintained in chronic myelogenous leukemia
Even when chronic myelogenous leukemia is in remission, 'sleeper cell,' quiescent leukemic stem cells are maintained in microenvironments in the bone marrow.
Starving leukemia cells by targeting amino acids
Eliminating ASCT2 selectively stops the growth of leukemia cells, while having limited effects on healthy blood cells and hematopoetic (blood-forming) stem cells.
Two-cells-in-one combo therapy could bolster leukemia treatment
A cancer therapy based on fusing two types of cells into a single unit shows promise in strengthening existing treatments for acute myeloid leukemia.
New combination treatment targets pre-leukemia stem cells
Omacetaxine (to block protein synthesis) with venetoclax (to block oxidative phosphorylation), was highly effective against CD123+ leukemia stem cells.
More Leukemia Cells News and Leukemia Cells Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.