Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Leukemia-causing Cells Found

Date:
January 24, 2008
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the cancer 'stem cells' that cause acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. The breakthrough came through studying four-year-old identical twins Olivia, who has leukaemia, and Isabella, who is healthy. They found that both twins had abnormal 'pre-leukaemia' stem cells in their blood that can either lie dormant in the bone marrow or develop into full-blown leukaemia stem cells. The results were then confirmed with experiments using human cord blood cells.

Identical twins Olivia and Isabella provided crucial evidence about cancer 'stem cells'.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

Scientists have discovered the cancer ‘stem cells’ that cause acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. A report of the research, which was led by Oxford University scientists, has been published in the journal Science.

Related Articles


The breakthrough came through studying four-year-old identical twins Olivia, who has leukaemia, and Isabella, who is healthy. They found that both twins had abnormal ‘pre-leukaemia’ stem cells in their blood that can either lie dormant in the bone marrow or develop into full-blown leukaemia stem cells. The results were then confirmed with experiments using human cord blood cells.

‘This research means that we can now test whether the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children can be correlated with either the disappearance or persistence of the leukaemia stem cell,’ said Professor Tariq Enver of the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at Oxford University, who led the research. ‘Our next goal is to target both the pre-leukaemic stem cell and the cancer stem cell itself with new or existing drugs to cure leukaemia while avoiding the debilitating and often harmful side effects of current treatments.’

The importance of avoiding such side effects is all too clear in Olivia’s case: she became blind in one eye as a result of an infection her body was unable to fight due to chemotherapy treatment.

Scientists have tracked the pre-cancerous stem cells back to an abnormal fusion of two genes that can occur during the mother’s pregnancy. This fusion creates a hybrid protein ‘TEL-AML1’; a genetic mistake that can set in motion a series of events that cause the cells to become leukaemic. The authors confirmed their findings in the twins by putting the TEL-AML1 gene into human cord blood cells, which were then transplanted into mice lacking an immune system. They discovered that the pre-leukaemic stem cells found in both twins also became established in the bone marrow of mice and confirmed a direct link between the specific genetic malfunction and leukaemia.

The research was funded by Leukaemia Research and the Medical Research Council and involved scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research and Great Ormond Street Hospital.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Leukemia-causing Cells Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123112050.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2008, January 24). Leukemia-causing Cells Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123112050.htm
University of Oxford. "Leukemia-causing Cells Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123112050.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman who blogged for years about her son&apos;s constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins