Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough in battle against leukemia

Date:
March 13, 2013
Source:
Griffith University
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a critical weakness in leukemic cells, which may pave the way to new treatments.

Scientists at Griffith University's Institute for Glycomics and The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have discovered a critical weakness in leukaemic cells, which may pave the way to new treatments.

Related Articles


The research team has demonstrated that leukaemic cells can be eradicated by removing a carbohydrate modification displayed on the cell's surface.

Director of Griffith University's Institute for Glycomics, Professor Mark von Itzstein is the Australian team leader. He said the discovery is an important advance against leukemia, a cancer of malignant white blood cells that multiply uncontrollably. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer.

"We have found that the leukaemic cell has an altered cell surface carbohydrate decoration compared to normal cells and this also conveys resistance to drug treatment," Professor von Itzstein said.

"We have now shown that with the removal of this carbohydrate alteration the cells die."

Professors Nora Heisterkamp and John Groffen, leaders of the US-based team, Professor von Itzstein and their colleagues have published their research findings in the latest edition of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Professor von Itzstein said the research could lead to new ways to fight the disease, particularly where it has become treatment resistant.

"Up until 40 years ago, only one child in five survived ALL," but advances in chemotherapy have changed that outcome and now nearly 80 percent of children with ALL will be cured," Professor von Itzstein said.

"For the remaining 20 percent, however, the disease returns necessitating additional rounds of intensive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, most relapsed patients die within one year because their cancer cells are resistant to chemotherapy.

"In the future, we hope that this novel, structural approach to treating ALL may offer an effective treatment option for children battling drug-resistant forms of the disease."

Professor von Itzstein said the discovery had been made possible only through a unique sharing of research expertise.

"These results are the culmination of an international collaboration that commenced only a few years ago when Professor Groffen spent study leave in the Institute for Glycomics on Griffith's Gold Coast Campus," Professor von Itzstein said.

"It has been a wonderful opportunity to combine the US team's internationally acclaimed expertise in leukemia with our own expertise in carbohydrate science.

"By exploiting this 'Achilles heel' in these leukaemic cells, our collaborative research efforts are now focused on the development of a new type of drug therapy that targets this carbohydrate modification."

Patron of the Institute for Glycomics Leukaemia project in Australia, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Ret'd), said he was delighted with this latest advance.

"These new findings provide the groundwork for a new fight against this terrible disease," he said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Parameswaran, M. Lim, A. Arutyunyan, H. Abdel-Azim, C. Hurtz, K. Lau, M. Muschen, R. K. Yu, M. von Itzstein, N. Heisterkamp, J. Groffen. O-acetylated N-acetylneuraminic acid as a novel target for therapy in human pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1084/jem.20121482

Cite This Page:

Griffith University. "Breakthrough in battle against leukemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313112420.htm>.
Griffith University. (2013, March 13). Breakthrough in battle against leukemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313112420.htm
Griffith University. "Breakthrough in battle against leukemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313112420.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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