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.

Related Articles


"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 November 1, 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 November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 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