Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Possible new approach to treating deadly leukemia in babies

Date:
April 14, 2011
Source:
Loyola University Health System
Summary:
A new study points to a promising new approach to treating an aggressive and usually fatal leukemia in babies. The study involved a type of leukemia called mixed lineage leukemia, or MLL. Only 25 to 50 percent of babies diagnosed with MLL leukemia survive the disease.

A Loyola University Health System study points to a promising new approach to treating an aggressive and usually fatal leukemia in babies. The study involved a type of leukemia called mixed lineage leukemia, or MLL leukemia. Only 25 to 50 percent of babies diagnosed with MLL leukemia survive the disease.

The study demonstrated how it may be possible to kill cancerous MLL cells by targeting a protein called DOT1. Researchers showed that, without the DOT1 protein, cancerous MLL cells died, said Charles Hemenway, MD, PhD, senior author of the study.

"We are focusing on the unique biology of MLL leukemia," Hemenway said.

The study was presented at the 2011 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Fla.

Between 5 and 10 percent of all leukemias are MLL positive. In children older than 1 who have MLL leukemia, the survival rate is about 75 percent. By comparison, the survival rate for most other childhood leukemias is about 90 percent. Adults who have MLL leukemia also have lower survival rates than those with other types of leukemia.

MLL is a subtype of leukemia caused by a mutation in a gene called MLL. The mutated gene codes for an abnormal MLL protein, which turns a blood cell into a cancer cell. For reasons researchers don't understand, MLL leukemia is more resistant to chemotherapy than other forms of leukemia.

In previous studies, Loyola researchers developed a small molecule, called PFWT, which binds to the MLL protein. This binding effectively disables the MLL protein, leading to the death of the cancer cell. Later this year Hemenway plans to begin testing PFWT molecules on mice that have MLL leukemia.

The new study points to a second possible way to attack MLL cells, by targeting the DOT1 protein. DOT1 works in conjunction with the MLL protein. The study demonstrated that DOT1 is critical for keeping MLL cancer cells alive.

Researchers cultured MLL cells from mice. From these cells, researchers removed the gene that codes for the DOT1 protein. Without the gene, the cell no longer produced the DOT1 protein, and without the DOT1 protein, the cancerous cells died.

Loyola researchers are collaborating with researchers from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., to identify molecules that could disable DOT1.

Hemenway said a double-barrel approach -- targeting both the DOT1 and MLL proteins --potentially could be a more effective treatment than current chemotherapy, with fewer side effects. But it will take years of additional research and testing before such a treatment would be available for patients.

Hemenway said several other Loyola researchers are studying MLL leukemia. "There are a lot of opportunities for collaboration," he said.

Hemenway is the Ronald McDonald House Charities Endowed Professor in Pediatric Oncology and division director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Other co-authors are first author Ming-Jin Chang, a visiting doctoral student at Stritch and Jeffrey Lynn, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Cleveland Clinic who previously studied in Hemenway's lab.

The study was supported by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Loyola University Health System. "Possible new approach to treating deadly leukemia in babies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413093254.htm>.
Loyola University Health System. (2011, April 14). Possible new approach to treating deadly leukemia in babies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413093254.htm
Loyola University Health System. "Possible new approach to treating deadly leukemia in babies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413093254.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. 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:
from the past week

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