Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia

Date:
August 13, 2012
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have made a discovery involving mice and humans that could mean that people with acute myeloid leukemia, a usually fatal cancer, are a step closer to new treatment options.

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have made a discovery involving mice and humans that could mean that people with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare and usually fatal cancer, are a step closer to new treatment options.

Their study results were published online August 13 in Cancer Cell.

Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D."We have discovered that a gene called HLX is expressed at abnormally high levels in leukemia stem cells in a mouse model of AML," said Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and of medicine at Einstein and senior author of the paper. (Gene expression is the process by which a gene synthesizes the molecule that it codes for; an "over-expressed" gene makes its product in abnormally high amounts.)

According to the National Cancer Institute, AML will be diagnosed in one of every 254 people during their lifetime. Most die within a few years of diagnosis. For the last several decades there has been little improvement in the survival rate for AML patients.

Dr. Steidl and his colleagues found that over-expression of the HLX gene in mice caused blood-forming stem cells to become dysfunctional and develop into abnormal progenitors (biological ancestors) of white blood cells that failed to differentiate into normal blood cells. Instead, those early, abnormal white cells formed duplicates of themselves.

The researchers then analyzed HLX expression data collected from 354 AML patients and found that 87 percent of them were over-expressing HLX compared with HLX expression in healthy individuals. And among patients expressing HLX at high levels in an even larger cohort of 601 patients: the greater their degree of HLX expression, the worse their survival chances.

Importantly, when Dr. Steidl's team used a laboratory technique to "knock down" HLX expression in AML cells taken from a mouse model of AML and from AML patients, proliferation of leukemia cells was greatly suppressed in both cases. And when the researchers knocked down HLX expression in mouse AML cells and human AML cells and then transplanted both types of cancer cells into healthy mice, those mice lived significantly longer compared with mice that received unaltered AML cells.

These findings suggest that targeting elevated HLX expression may be a promising novel strategy for treating AML.

"HLX is clearly a key factor in causing the over-production of white cells that occurs in AML," said Dr. Steidl. "Our research is still in its early stages, but we're looking towards developing drugs that target and inactivate HLX or the molecular mechanisms it influences so we can improve treatment for AML and possibly other types of cancer." Einstein has filed a patent application related to this research. The HLX technology is available for licensing.

The research was supported by grants from the Leukemia Research Foundation, NYSTEM, the National Cancer Institute (CA131503) of the National Institutes of Health, and the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Masahiro Kawahara, Ashley Pandolfi, Boris Bartholdy, Laura Barreyro, Britta Will, Michael Roth, UjunwaC. Okoye-Okafor, TihomiraI. Todorova, MariaE. Figueroa, Ari Melnick, ConstantineS. Mitsiades, Ulrich Steidl. H2.0-like Homeobox Regulates Early Hematopoiesis and Promotes Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Cancer Cell, 2012; 22 (2): 194 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.06.027

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130629.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2012, August 13). Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130629.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130629.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. 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