An epigenetic lesion could be responsible for acute T-cell leukemia

March 30, 2017

Researchers from the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program (PEBC) led by Dr. Manel Esteller at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have discovered how an epigenetic lesion can lead to T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The article, published in the journal Leukemia, leader in the field of hematology, correlates the lesion with the activation of a powerful oncogen capable of malignizing this type of cells of the immune system.

Every two minutes, a person is diagnosed with a blood cell cancer - a leukemia, a lymphoma or a myeloma-, constituting 11% of all the tumors detected every year. T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) creates alterations in the normal development of T lymphocytes, which are the cells responsible for defense against infections. This type of leukemia, which may appear in both children and adults, is characterized by its aggressive behavior. There are certain genetic alterations responsible for up to a third of the cases, but the molecular changes involved in the rest are still unknown.

"We have found that in 60% of acute type T leukemias, T lymphocytes present a loss of activity in a gene called NUDT16, whose normal function is to degrade other potentially dangerous genes. The lack of NUDT16 monitoring in these T lymphocytes allows a widely recognized cancer-causing gene, called C-MYC, to act freely and transforms these healthy cells into cancer cells", explains Dr. Esteller, ICREA Researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona.

"It is interesting to take into account the NUDT16 gene is not genetically damaged, so it could be reactivated with epigenetic drugs already used in other types of leukemia and lymphoma. It would also be worthwhile to test whether these leukemias, being so dependent on the C-MYC oncogene, would also be more sensitive to drugs targeting this protein", adds the IDIBELL researcher.

The research was carried out with the clinical collaboration of the Hematology Services of the Santa Creu and Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona and the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona, as well as the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute.

IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

Related Leukemia Articles from Brightsurf:

New therapeutic approach against leukemia
Using an RNA molecule complex, researchers can prevent retention of cancer stem cell in their tumor supporting niche

Nanoparticle for overcoming leukemia treatment resistance
One of the largest problems with cancer treatment is the development of resistance to anticancer therapies.

Key gene in leukemia discovered
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common forms of blood cancer among adults and is associated with a low survival rate, and leads to the inhibition of normal blood formation.

Vitamin B6, leukemia's deadly addiction
Researchers from CSHL and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how Acute Myeloid Leukemia is addicted to vitamin B6.

Artificial intelligence tracks down leukemia
Artificial intelligence can detect one of the most common forms of blood cancer - acute myeloid leukemia -- with high reliability.

Milestone reached in new leukemia drug
Using a chemical compound called YKL-05-099, a team of cancer researchers from CSHL and the Dana Farber Institute was able to target the Salt-Inducible Kinase 3 (SIK3) pathway and extend survival in mice with MLL leukemia.

The drug combination effective against bovine leukemia
Scientists have succeeded in reducing levels of the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) in cows with severe infections by combining an immune checkpoint inhibitor and an enzyme inhibitor.

Towards a safer treatment for leukemia
An international team of researchers at VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium, the UK Dementia Institute and the Children's Cancer Institute, Australia, have found a safer treatment for a specific type of leukemia.

Research paves way for new source for leukemia drug
Chemistry researchers have patented a method for making anti-leukemia compounds that until now have only been available via an Asian tree that produces them.

An atlas of an aggressive leukemia
A team of researchers led by Bradley Bernstein at the Ludwig Center at Harvard has used single-cell technologies and machine learning to create a detailed 'atlas of cell states' for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that could help improve treatment of the aggressive cancer.

Read More: Leukemia News and Leukemia Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to