Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To prevent leukemia's dreaded return, go for the stem cells

Date:
April 5, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Researchers have found a way to stop leukemia stem cells in their tracks. The advance in mice suggests that a combination approach to therapy might stamp out chronic myeloid leukemia for good.

Researchers reporting in the April Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, have found a way to stop leukemia stem cells in their tracks. The advance in mice suggests that a combination approach to therapy might stamp out chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) for good.

That's in contrast to the vast majority of CML patients taking drugs like imatinib (aka Gleevec) today, who often go into remission only to see their cancer return again. It is those lingering leukemia stem cells, which stubbornly resist existing therapies, that fuel the cancer's comeback.

"Imatinib inhibits the oncoprotein [that drives CML] and it is incredibly effective at putting patients into remission," said Scott Armstrong of Harvard Medical School. "But there is growing evidence that this doesn't rid the body of the most immature cancer cells. The question is: How can we eradicate those cells?"

The Cell Stem Cell study focused on a pathway known to be important in blood stem cells during development but not in adulthood. The new findings in mice suggest that leukemia stem cells revert back to their dependence on that early developmental pathway.

That leaves leukemia stem cells vulnerable to treatments aimed at the so-called β-catenin pathway in a way that normal blood stem cells aren't. The evidence shows that imatinib plus the loss of β-catenin can help to prevent recurrence of the disease. β-catenin inhibitors given to mice also helped to eliminate leukemia stem cells, as did a pain-relieving drug already in use that lowers β-catenin levels, if indirectly.

Armstrong says there is more work to do to ensure that β-catenin blockers would work in the same way in humans that they do in the mice. If so, it's likely CML patients won't be the only or even the first to gain from the new treatment strategy.

"It will take time because people with CML already do pretty well," he says. But β-catenin inhibitors might be just what the doctor ordered in the case of some other, harder-to-treat forms of leukemia, in colon cancer, or perhaps in patients who have entered an acute stage of CML.

"The appeal is that this pathway is important for the leukemia, but not for normal cells," Armstrong says. "It gives us an angle for therapy." A drug targeted at β-catenin might just get rid of leukemia and its stem cells once and for all, while leaving healthy blood stem cells unscathed.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. FlorianH. Heidel, Lars Bullinger, Zhaohui Feng, Zhu Wang, TobiasA. Neff, Lauren Stein, Demetrios Kalaitzidis, StevenW. Lane, ScottA. Armstrong. Genetic and Pharmacologic Inhibition of β-Catenin Targets Imatinib-Resistant Leukemia Stem Cells in CML. Cell Stem Cell, 2012; 10 (4): 412 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.02.017

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "To prevent leukemia's dreaded return, go for the stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131417.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, April 5). To prevent leukemia's dreaded return, go for the stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131417.htm
Cell Press. "To prevent leukemia's dreaded return, go for the stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131417.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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