Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes vital to preventing childhood leukemia identified

Date:
July 18, 2011
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
Researchers have identified genes that may be important for preventing childhood leukemia. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the blood that occurs primarily in young children. Working with mice, researchers have identified two key genes called PU.1 and Spi-B that appear essential in the prevention of B cell ALL, the most common form of ALL in children.

Researchers at The University of Western Ontario have identified genes that may be important for preventing childhood leukemia. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the blood that occurs primarily in young children. It's frequently associated with mutations or chromosomal abnormalities that arise during embryonic or fetal development. Working with mice, researchers led by Rodney DeKoter identified two key genes that appear essential in the prevention of B cell ALL, the most common form of ALL in children.

The study is published online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

In the study, mice were generated with mutations in two genes called PU.1 and Spi-B. Mutation of either PU.1 or Spi-B individually had little effect. Unexpectedly, mutation of both genes resulted in 100% of the mice developing B cell ALL. Eighty percent of ALL cases in children are of the B cell type. The study found PU.1 and Spi-B have unanticipated functional redundancy as "tumor suppressor" genes that prevent leukemia.

"You can think of PU.1 and Spi-B proteins as brakes on a car. If the main brake (PU.1) fails, you still have the emergency brake (Spi-B). However, if both sets of brakes fail, the car speeds out of control," explains DeKoter, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "And uncontrolled cell division is an important cause of leukemia."

PU.1 is an essential regulator in the development of the immune system, and mutations in this gene have been previously associated with human ALL. DeKoter hopes these studies will ultimately lead to improved, less toxic, therapies for childhood leukemia. Currently, about 80% of ALL patients go into complete remission when treated with aggressive chemotherapy.

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristen M. Sokalski, Stephen K.H. Li, Ian Welch, Heather-Anne T. Cadieux-Pitre, Marek R. Gruca, and Rodney P. DeKoter. Deletion of genes encoding PU.1 and Spi-B in B cells impairs differentiation and induces pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood, 2011 DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-335539

Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Genes vital to preventing childhood leukemia identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718132132.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2011, July 18). Genes vital to preventing childhood leukemia identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718132132.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Genes vital to preventing childhood leukemia identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718132132.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. 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