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Weakness of leukemic stem cells discovered

Date:
August 4, 2014
Source:
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Summary:
Despite improved therapy, only one out of every two adult patients survive acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The mean survival time for this disease, which predominantly occurs in the elderly, is less than a year for patients over 65 years. It is assumed that leukemic stem cells, which cannot be completely eliminated during treatment, are the origin of relapse. However, as has been recently discovered, these cells do have a weakness: the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) plays a significant role in the survival of leukaemic AML stem cells, it turns out.

Despite improved therapy, only one out of every two adult patients survive acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The mean survival time for this disease, which predominantly occurs in the elderly, is less than a year for patients over 65 years. It is assumed that leukaemic stem cells, which cannot be completely eliminated during treatment, are the origin of relapse. However, as has been discovered by a team of Frankfurt-based researchers, these cells do have a weakness: In the current edition of the high impact journal "Cancer Research," they report that the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) plays a significant role in the survival of leukaemic AML stem cells.

5-LO is known for its role in inflammatory diseases like asthma. A team led by Dr. Marin Ruthardt from the Haematology Department of the Medical Clinic II and Dr. Jessica Roos, Prof. Diester Steinhilber and Prof. Thorsten Jürgen Maier from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Chemistry showed that the leukaemic stem cells in a subgroup of AML could be selectively and efficiently attacked by 5-LO inhibitors. This was demonstrable in cell culture models as well as in leukemia mouse models.

"These results provide the basis for the potential implementation of 5-LO-inhibitors as stem cell therapeutic agents for a sustained AML cure, although this must be investigated further in preclinical and clinical studies in humans," explains Dr. Ruthardt. "In addition, there are plans for further molecular biological studies with the objective of understanding exactly how the 5-LO inhibitors act on the leukaemic cells." Prof. Maier continued.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Roos, C. Oancea, M. Heinssmann, D. Khan, H. Held, A. S. Kahnt, R. Capelo, E. la Buscato, E. Proschak, E. Puccetti, D. Steinhilber, I. Fleming, T. J. Maier, M. Ruthardt. 5-lipoxygenase is a candidate target for therapeutic management of stem cell-like cells in acute myeloid leukemia. Cancer Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3012

Cite This Page:

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. "Weakness of leukemic stem cells discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804100113.htm>.
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. (2014, August 4). Weakness of leukemic stem cells discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804100113.htm
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. "Weakness of leukemic stem cells discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804100113.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

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