Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epigenetic mechanisms distinguishing stem cell function, blood cancer decoded

Date:
May 9, 2014
Source:
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Summary:
A new mechanism that distinguishes normal blood stem cells from blood cancers has been developed by researchers. "These findings constitute a significant advance toward the goal of killing leukemia cells without harming the body's normal blood stem cells which are often damaged by chemotherapy," said a principle investigator.

Researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center have published results from a study in Cell Reports that discovers a new mechanism that distinguishes normal blood stem cells from blood cancers.

"These findings constitute a significant advance toward the goal of killing leukemia cells without harming the body's normal blood stem cells which are often damaged by chemotherapy," said Patricia Ernst, PhD, co-director of the Cancer Mechanisms Program of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and an associate professor in Genetics at the Geisel School of Medicine.

The study focused on a pathway regulated by a gene called MLL1 (for Mixed Lineage Leukemia). Ernst served as principal investigator; Bibhu Mishra, PhD, as lead author.

When the MLL1 gene is damaged, it can cause leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood, often occurring in very young patients. Researchers found that the normal version of the gene controls many other genes in a manner that maintains the production of blood cells.

"This control becomes chaotic when the gene is damaged or 'broken' and that causes the normal blood cells to turn into leukemia," said Ernst.

The researchers showed that the normal gene acts with a partner gene called MOF that adds small "acetyl" chemical modification around the genes that it controls. The acetyl modification acts as a switch to turn genes on. When this function is disrupted, MLL1 cannot maintain normal blood stem cells.

The researchers also found that a gene called Sirtuin1 (more commonly known for controlling longevity) works against MLL1 to keep the proper amount of "acetyl" modifications on important stem cell genes. Blood cancers involving MLL1, in contrast, do not have this MOF-Sirtuin balance and place a different chemical modification on genes that result in leukemia.

Blood stem cells also represent an important therapy for patients whose own stem cells are destroyed by chemotherapy. This study also reveals a new way to treat blood stem cells from donors that would expand their numbers.

"These finding suggest that drugs that block Sirtuin1 may be combined with MLL1 blocking drugs in certain leukemia to both preserve stem cells that make normal blood at the same time as killing leukemia cells," said Ernst.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Patricia Ernst, PhD, Bibhu Mishra, PhD et al. The Histone Methyltransferase Activity of MLL1 Is Dispensable for Hematopoiesis and Leukemogenesis. Cell Reports, May 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.04.015

Cite This Page:

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "Epigenetic mechanisms distinguishing stem cell function, blood cancer decoded." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509130044.htm>.
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. (2014, May 9). Epigenetic mechanisms distinguishing stem cell function, blood cancer decoded. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509130044.htm
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "Epigenetic mechanisms distinguishing stem cell function, blood cancer decoded." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509130044.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. 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