leukemia cells

Source: University of Manchester

Acute myeloid leukaemia

AML's Achilles’ heel opens door for new treatments

New findings about a fatal form of blood cancer could aid the development of new drugs with significantly less harmful side effects than existing chemotherapy.

The discovery could lead to novel treatments that efficiently eliminate blood cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), without harming healthy blood cells. Researchers have discovered how a protein in the body plays a key role in AML – an aggressive cancer of white blood cells with very poor survival rates. The study showed that the protein, known as YTHDF2, is needed to trigger and sustain the disease, but is not needed for healthy cells to function. This identifies YTHDF2 as a promising drug target for leukaemia.

A team of researchers led by the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University of London carried out a series of experiments to understand the role of YTHDF2 in blood cancer. The study, carried out in collaboration with The University of Manchester, Harvard Medical School and the Université de Tours, was published in Cell Stem Cell. It was supported by Cancer Research UK and Wellcome.

Recommended article

Photo

Acute myeloid leukaemia

Researchers draw AML ‘family trees’ in patients treated with enasidenib

For the first time, a team of international researchers have mapped the family trees of cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) to understand how this blood cancer responds to a new drug, enasidenib. The work also explains what happens when a patient stops responding to the treatment, providing important clues about how to combine enasidenib with other anti-cancer drugs to produce…

Our work sets the stage for therapeutic targeting of cancer stem cells in leukaemia while enhancing the regenerative capacity of normal blood stem cells

Kamil Kranc

Tests in blood samples donated by leukaemia patients showed that the protein is abundant in cancer cells, while experiments in mice found that the protein is required to initiate and maintain the disease. Further tests enabled scientists to determine the biological pathway by which interfering with the function of YTHDF2 selectively kills blood cancer cells. Importantly, they also showed that the protein is not needed to support the function of healthy blood stem cells, which are responsible for the production of all normal blood cells. In fact, blood stem cells were even more active in the absence of YTHDF2.

Professor Dónal O’Carroll, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who co-led the research, said: “The study shows the promise of a novel class of drugs as the basis for cancer and regenerative medicine treatments.” Professor Kamil Kranc, of Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, who jointly led the study, said: “Our work sets the stage for therapeutic targeting of cancer stem cells in leukaemia while enhancing the regenerative capacity of normal blood stem cells. We hope this will establish a new paradigm in cancer treatment”.


Source: University of Edinburgh

26.04.2019

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Blood cancer

Mapping bone-marrow microenvironment sheds fresh light on leukaemia

Stem cells are surrounded and protected by the stem-cell niche – the microenvironment – of the tissue in which they are found. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have mapped the stem-cell niche…

Photo

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS)

Researchers find way to generate stem cells more efficiently

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are among the most important tools in modern biomedical research, leading to new and promising possibilities in precision medicine. To create them requires…

Photo

Making the invisible visible

New method opens unexplored realms for liquid biopsies

Advancing technology is allowing scientists increasingly to search for tiny signs of cancer and other health issues in samples of patients’ blood and urine. These “liquid biopsies” are less…

Related products

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Eppendorf AG
i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

LIS, Middleware, POCT

i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

i-SOLUTIONS Health GmbH
Medat – Laboratory Information System

LIS, Middleware, POCT

Medat – Laboratory Information System

Medat Computer-Systeme GmbH
SARSTEDT - Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Research use only (RUO)

SARSTEDT - Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Research Use Only (RUO)

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Siemens Healthineers - syngo Lab Inventory Manager (sLIM)

LIS, Middleware, POCT

Siemens Healthineers - syngo Lab Inventory Manager (sLIM)

Siemens Healthineers