Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma

Date:
May 7, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
Researchers studying molecular signals that drive B cell lymphoma have found a key biological pathway leading to this type of cancer. The finding may help to break so-called "oncogene addiction" in treating this cancer.

Researchers studying the molecular signals that drive a specific type of lymphoma have discovered a key biological pathway leading to this type of cancer. Cancerous cells have been described as being "addicted" to certain oncogenes (cancer-causing genes), and the new research may lay the groundwork for breaking that addiction and effectively treating aggressive types of B cell lymphoma.

Related Articles


B cell lymphomas, which occur both in children and adults, are cancers that attack B cells in the immune system.

"Our research suggests ways to devise more specific therapies to selectively kill tumor cells in a subset of lymphomas," said study leader Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko, Ph.D., an oncology researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The study, conducted in animal cells and human cell cultures, appeared May 1 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

An oncogene is a type of gene that normally produces a protein active in cell growth or regulation. However, when the gene is mutated or otherwise overproduced, it can cause cancer. One family of oncogenes is called MYC, and the current study focused on how the MYC oncogene drives B cell lymphoma. MYC codes for Myc, a type of protein called a transcription factor. At high levels, Myc causes the uncontrolled cell growth that is a hallmark of cancer.

The researchers focused on the crucial role of the cell surface receptor CD19, a protein residing on the surface of all B cells that normally recognizes foreign invaders. "We found that CD19 is absolutely required to stabilize the Myc protein," said Thomas-Tikhonenko. "When Myc is stable and present in high levels, it fuels cancer." Patients with high levels of the Myc protein are more likely to die of lymphoma.

Patients with high levels of Myc also had high levels of CD19, and the current study describes a previously unknown molecular pathway that depends on CD19. It also implicates CD19 as a molecular on-off switch on that pathway. Usually, said Thomas-Tikhonenko, when you inhibit one pathway, another pathway compensates to produce the same end result. But in this case, there is no such redundant pathway: "Without CD19, there is no Myc," he added, "so controlling that on-off switch could represent a powerful tool against lymphoma."

The findings are particularly relevant, said Thomas-Tikhonenko, to current oncology clinical trials that are testing antibodies that act broadly against the CD19 receptor. Such antibodies kill all B cells, and thus weaken the immune system. His study suggests that understanding the CD19 pathway could enable researchers to design a more specific therapy that selectively kills tumor cells while sparing healthy B cells.

Further studies in his lab, he added, will further investigate these molecular pathways and how to translate this knowledge into future anti-cancer treatments.

The National Institutes of Health, the V Foundation and the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust supported this study. In addition, a co-author, Elaine Y. Chung, Ph.D., was a fellow of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Other co-authors, all from Children's Hospital, were James N. Psathas, Ph.D., Duonan Yu, M.D., Ph.D., Yimei Li, Ph.D., and Mitchell J. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elaine Y. Chung, James N. Psathas, Duonan Yu, Yimei Li, Mitchell J. Weiss, Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko. CD19 is a major B cell receptor–independent activator of MYC-driven B-lymphomagenesis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012; DOI: 10.1172/JCI45851

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507151136.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2012, May 7). Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507151136.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507151136.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. 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