Nav: Home

New study offers hope for more effective treatment of leukemia

April 11, 2017

The discovery of a protein signature that is highly predictive of leukemia could lead to novel treatments of the leading childhood cancer, according to new study showing that competition among certain proteins causes an imbalance that leads to leukemia.

The new study in the journal Nature Immunology reveals that the activation of a protein known as STAT5 causes competition among other proteins that leads to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). If a drug could be developed to prevent the initial activation of STAT5 and restore the natural balance of proteins, ALL could potentially be treated more effectively.

Blood cancers account for nearly 10 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States. Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia - a type of cancer in which the bone marrow produces too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) - accounts for three out of every four cases of leukemia and is the most common in children under age five.

Prior research shows that certain genetic mutations common in Leukemia have a role in driving the disease. Authors of the article "Antagonism of B cell enhancer networks by STAT5 drives leukemia and poor patient survival" found that by forcing the activation of STAT5 in mice (constitutively activated alleles forced by the researchers) always produced Leukemia.

"The major outcome of this story is that a signature emerged from looking at the level of activated proteins compared to other proteins that's very predictive of how a patient will respond to therapy," says Seth Frietze, assistant professor in medical laboratory and radiation sciences at the University of Vermont, whose data analysis supported the finding that the ratio of activated STAT5 to IKAROS in patients is very prognostic and predictive of the outcome. "That's a novel finding. If we could find drugs to target that activation that could be an incredibly effective way to treat Leukemia."

Corresponding author Michael Farrar from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota led a team of 10 researchers that employed an innovative methodology that combines unique mouse models and patient samples in combination with high-throughput DNA sequencing, epigenetic and proteomic analysis. The result was that patients with a high ratio of imbalanced proteins (STAT5 to IKAROS or NF-kB) had far worse prognosis.

Frietze, whose research focuses on how to overcome IKAROS mutations, put the finding in perspective by explaining that "tumor sequencing is currently being used to both risk stratify patients and provide novel therapeutic targets. However, the ways in we are able to use that sequencing information is still limited. This study provides a new way to risk stratify patients, identifying those who are at higher risk or relapse and may therefore need more intense therapy to cure their disease."
-end-


University of Vermont

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.