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How A Drug To Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Is Degraded

Date:
June 8, 2009
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
L-Asparaginase is one of the key drugs used to treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. However, in some children the drug never reaches therapeutic levels. Researchers have now determined a possible reason for this -- leukemic cells from some patients express two proteins capable of cleaving L-asparaginase -- and engineered a form of the drug that is resistant to in vitro cleavage by one of these proteins.

L-Asparaginase is one of the key drugs used to treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, some children fail to achieve therapeutic levels of L-asparaginase after receiving the drug. The mechanisms underlying such therapeutic failure are not well defined.

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But now, Vaskar Saha and colleagues, at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, United Kingdom, have found that leukemic cells from some patients with ALL express two proteins capable of degrading ASNase, one of the commercially available sources of L-asparaginase.

Importantly, expression of one of these proteins, AEP, is predominantly observed in individuals with high-risk forms of ALL. By modifying one amino acid of ASNase, the authors were able to render it resistant to cleavage by AEP; however, the modified drug was not as active. The authors hope that this description of a potential mechanism to explain why some children fail to achieve therapeutic levels of L-asparaginase after receiving ASNase will enable optimization of L-asparaginase therapy to the benefit of children with ALL.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A dyad of lymphoblastic lysosomal cysteine proteases degrades the antileukemic drug L-asparaginase. Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 8, 2009

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "How A Drug To Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Is Degraded." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182427.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2009, June 8). How A Drug To Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Is Degraded. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182427.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "How A Drug To Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Is Degraded." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182427.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

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