Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cardiovascular drug may offer new treatment for some difficult types of leukemia

Date:
September 13, 2011
Source:
Indiana University School of Medicine
Summary:
A drug now prescribed for cardiovascular problems could become a new tool in physicians' arsenals to attack certain types of leukemia that so far have evaded effective treatments, researchers say.

A drug now prescribed for cardiovascular problems could become a new tool in physicians' arsenals to attack certain types of leukemia that so far have evaded effective treatments, researchers say.

Related Articles


The drug, Fasudil, has been used to treat stroke patients because it is a vasodilator, meaning it dilates blood vessels. However, its potential in leukemia emerged because its method of action is blocking the activity of a protein called Rho kinase, or ROCK.

ROCK, which plays a role in a variety of cellular activities, attracted the attention of the national research team led by Reuben Kapur, Ph.D., Frieda and Albrecht Kipp Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, as they were studying the effects of mutations in several other proteins that are associated with difficult-to-treat types of leukemia. Those mutations, experiments revealed, resulted in hyperactivation of ROCK. The group reported its findings in the Sept. 13, 2011 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, which was published online Sept. 12.

"There's been a push to identify targets that get revved up as a result of the mutations we find in the leukemia cells, and we found that ROCK appeared to be hyperactive. Fasudil is available and targets ROCK, but its possible effectiveness as an anti-leukemia agent had not been tested," Dr. Kapur said.

"Many of these leukemia patients are older, especially those with acute myelogenous leukemia, and they undergo extensive chemotherapy," said Dr. Kapur. "If we could find other ways of treating them that would be more tolerable, that would be useful for older populations."

Leukemia covers a broad range of diseases involving excess production of immature white blood cells. The research team investigated the ramifications of mutations in genes for two receptor proteins known as KIT and FLT3. They also studied the effects of BCR-ABL, a protein produced when parts of two chromosomes swap places, an abnormality that is associated with chronic myelogenous leukemia. KIT, FLT3 and BCR-ABL are known as oncogenes due to their potential to cause cancer.

In each case, blood-producing bone marrow cells with the mutations all had hyperactivated levels of ROCK. The researchers then were able to slow the growth of those cells in laboratory tests by using the ROCK inhibitor, Fasudil. Similarly, the drug significantly prolonged the survival of laboratory mice with leukemia.

Further testing is necessary, but the investigators found the results promising, said Dr. Kapur.

"This drug could be fairly potent across the board with a lot of leukemias," he said. "Whether alone or in combination with existing therapies it could have a lot of potential."

In addition to Dr. Kapur, lead authors of the paper were IU researchers Raghuveer Singh Mali, Ph.D., assistant research professor of pediatrics, and Baskar Ramdas, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in pediatrics. Additional research was contributed by investigators at Genentech Inc., the Cleveland Clinic, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Northwestern University.

Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Riley Children's Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Raghuveer Singh Mali, Baskar Ramdas, Peilin Ma, Jianjian Shi, Veerendra Munugalavadla, Emily Sims, Lei Wei, Sasidhar Vemula, Sarah C. Nabinger, Charles B. Goodwin, Rebecca J. Chan, Fabiola Traina, Valeria Visconte, Ramon V. Tiu, Timothy A. Lewis, Andrew M. Stern, Qiang Wen, John D. Crispino, H. Scott Boswell, Reuben Kapur. Rho Kinase Regulates the Survival and Transformation of Cells Bearing Oncogenic Forms of KIT, FLT3, and BCR-ABL. Cancer Cell, 2011; 20 (3): 357-369 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.07.016

Cite This Page:

Indiana University School of Medicine. "Cardiovascular drug may offer new treatment for some difficult types of leukemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912143248.htm>.
Indiana University School of Medicine. (2011, September 13). Cardiovascular drug may offer new treatment for some difficult types of leukemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912143248.htm
Indiana University School of Medicine. "Cardiovascular drug may offer new treatment for some difficult types of leukemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912143248.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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