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New clue in leukemia mystery: Researchers identify 'poison' employed by deadly enzyme mutations
By Dross at 2010-12-04 00:16

NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2010) -- There is new hope for people with acute myelogenous leukemiaterm (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Research led by Weill Cornell Medical College and published today in the online edition of the journal Cancer Cell reveals a surprising and unexpected cancer-causing mechanism. The investigators discovered that newly identified mutant enzymes in AML create a chemical poison to cause leukemia.

read more | 2739 reads

Washington University scientists first to sequence genome of cancer patient
By Dross at 2008-10-31 23:49

For the first time, scientists have decoded the complete DNA of a cancer patient and traced her disease - acute myelogenous leukemiaterm - to its genetic roots. A large research team at the Genome Sequencing Center and the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis sequenced the genome of the patient - a woman in her 50s who ultimately died of her disease - and the genome of her leukemia cells, to identify genetic changes unique to her cancer.

The study is reported in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal Nature.

Acute myelogenous leukemia cells

The pioneering work sets the stage for using a more comprehensive, genome-wide approach to unravel the genetic basis of cancer. "Our work demonstrates the power of sequencing entire genomes to discover novel cancer-related mutations," says senior author Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D., director of Washington University's Genome Sequencing Center. "A genome-wide understanding of cancer, which is now possible with faster, less expensive DNA sequencing technology, is the foundation for developing more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer."

read more | 3 comments | 1876 reads

Gene Mutation Improves Leukemia Drug's Effect
By Dross at 2008-06-18 03:42

            COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gene mutations that make cells cancerous can sometimes also make them more sensitive to chemotherapyterm. A new study led by cancer researchers at The Ohio State University shows that a mutation present in some cases of acute leukemiaterm makes the disease more susceptible to high doses of a particular anticancer drug.

The findings, from a Cancer and Leukemia Group B clinical cooperative group study led by Dr. Clara D. Bloomfield, an internationally known leukemia specialist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, could change how doctors manage these patients.

read more | 1 comment | 1686 reads

By Dross at 2008-03-07 06:26

A new study suggests that a type of acute leukemiaterm may occur in part because abnormally low levels of one small molecule result in the over-activity of genes important to the disease. The research involved patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and a gene mutation called NPM1, an alteration seen in about one-third of adult AML cases.

read more | 2010 reads

Leukemia Therapy With Imatinib During Pregnancy May Cause Infant Abnormalities
By Dross at 2008-03-06 05:05

While doctors already face many challenges in treating patients with cancer, treating pregnant women with the disease, in particular, can be quite difficult as studies suggest that certain therapies can harm developing fetuses. According to the results of a study prepublished today online in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology, expectant women treated with imatinib, a commonly used therapy for chronic myeloid leukemiaterm (CML), may be at moderate risk of developing fetal abnormalities.

Imatinib was introduced for the treatment of CML in 1998 and has become a primary therapy for most patients, turning the previously fatal disease into a mostly chronic condition in the last decade. The drug's label warns that women of child-bearing age should avoid pregnancy while taking the drug based on earlier studies that suggested it may penetrate the placenta and cause damage to developing cells.

read more | 2647 reads

Pancytopenia MDS may reflect stromal changes and longer time to engraftment post transplant
By Dross at 2008-01-17 04:06

It has recently been shown that patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) may find that their time to stem cell engraftment post transplant is delayed beyond that seen by Acute Myeloid Leukemiaterm transplant patients (a more serious disease.) The thought behind these results is that the bone marrow's stroma (matrix cells) was not providing sufficient signal to the blood progenitor cells before the transplant took place, whereas the AML patients may have had progenitor cells with more serious mutations in their dna which would not have responded properly even if the stroma's signals were being provided. Therefore in many AML patients, transplanted stem cells are able to engraft quickly because the matrix environment is healthy and able to support the division and growth of new progenitors.

read more | 2 comments | 2451 reads

Molecules might identify high-risk acute-leukemia patients
By Dross at 2008-01-17 01:41

COLUMBUS, Ohio – New research suggests that certain small molecules used by cells to control the proteins they make might also help doctors identify adult acute-leukemiaterm patients who are likely to respond poorly to therapy.

Researchers say the findings should improve the understanding of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and could lead to new therapies for patients with few treatment options.

The study examined the levels of molecules called microRNAs in leukemia cells from 122 patients with high- and intermediate-risk AML and in normal blood stem cells from 10 healthy donors.

The findings showed that both the leukemia cells and their normal counterparts had similar kinds of microRNA, but that the two groups differed in the levels of miRNAs present.

read more | 1842 reads

Cancer Institute researcher develops test for targeted therapy in acute myeloid leukemia
By Dross at 2007-12-11 00:02

ATLANTA – Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researcher Jeff Tyner, Ph.D., has created a way to identify proteins that are candidates for targeted therapy in acute myeloid leukemiaterm using an assay that yields results in just four days. This research will be presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Atlanta, on Monday, Dec. 10, at 8:15 a.m.

This functional assay, called RAPID, because it rapidly delivers the information, has the capability of telling researchers which actual proteins from the tyrosine kinase family are contributing to an individual patient’s cancer.

read more | 1962 reads

Novel strategy under study for aggressive leukemia
By Dross at 2007-09-25 00:05

Novel strategy under study for aggressive leukemiaterm


A novel strategy to hopefully beat into oblivion one of the most aggressive forms of acute myelogenous leukemia combines the strengths of some of the newest leukemia agents, researchers say.

“These are not traditional chemotherapyterm regimens. These are targeted therapies that our earlier laboratory studies have shown have a synergistic effect,” says Dr. Kapil N. Bhalla, director of the Medical College of Georgia Cancer Center.

read more | 2700 reads

Gene's Activity Points To More Lethal Subtype Of AML
By Dross at 2007-07-10 18:21

A new study shows that the activity of a particular gene can identify people who have a more lethal form of acute myeloid leukemiaterm, singling out those patients who should receive more intense therapy. The gene, called ERG (for ETS-related gene), has also been linked to chronic leukemia and to breast and prostate cancer. The findings apply to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with leukemia cells that have normal-looking chromosomes, a feature that occurs in about half of AML patients


Among these patients, those with leukemia cells showing high ERG activity are almost six times more likely to relapse or die within five years than are patients with low ERG expression following standard therapy.

read more | 2103 reads

Pre-cancerous blood diseases can be products of their environment
By Dross at 2007-06-15 00:13

When blood-forming stem cells misbehave, causing pre-cancerous conditions that can sometimes even progress to leukemiaterm, the problem might not always lie with them. Rather, two studies in the June 15 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press, reveal that a bad environment might be to blame.

Both reports show that defects in the bone marrow—where blood cells are made—can spawn such pre-cancerous blood disorders in mice. Previously, such myeloproliferative syndromes were thought to be rooted in the blood cells themselves.

“We show that the bone marrow microenvironment can make the blood cells become abnormal, like a type of pre-leukemic disease,” said Louise Purton, who is affiliated with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Such pre-cancerous conditions are often difficult to treat in humans, she added, mainly because not much is known about what causes the blood cells to act out.

read more | 3476 reads

Bone marrow microenvironment can contribute to blood cell disorder
By Dross at 2007-06-15 00:02

Disorders of blood cells may begin in the biological environment where the cells develop, not just with the cells themselves, according to a study from researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center (Peter Mac) in Melbourne, Australia. In the June 15 issue of Cell, the investigators describe finding that genetic alterations in the bone marrow of mice can cause a type of myeloproliferative syndrome, an overproduction of certain blood cells that also occurs in human patients.

“Previously all myeloproliferative syndromes have been considered to be intrinsic to the blood cells themselves,” says Louise Purton, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, formerly of Peter Mac, who led the study. “This discovery may help us find better therapies for these disorders, which can be quite difficult to treat, and also for some leukemias.”

read more | 1 comment | 3802 reads

Translocation Kidney Cancer after Chemotherapy in Childhood
By Dross at 2007-04-22 22:28

This article out of Johns Hopkins reviewed the risk of renal cell carcinomaterm occurring as a secondary malignancy after chemotherapyterm in childhood. It is known that children who survive cancer are at the risk of developing another malignancy 20 times more likely than the general population. This study described the clinical, pathologic, cytogenetic, and molecular data on six translocation renal cell carcinomas that arose in five patients who had received chemotherapy.

At the time of diagnosis, the children were between the ages of 6-22 years. Histologically, the tumor showed typical features that are described for translocation renal cell carcinomas. At the molecular level, three of the tumors contained the ASPL-TFE3 fusion; two contained Alpha-TFEB and one contained PRCC-TFE3. The time span between chemotherapy and the diagnosis of these renal cell carcinomas ranged from 4-13 years. The indications varied and including acute promyelocytic leukemiaterm, acute myeloid leukemia, bilateral Wilms' tumor, systemic lupus erythematosus, and a conditioning regimen of bone marrow transplantation secondary to Hurler's syndrome. This latter patient also received radiation.

read more | 3776 reads

Ambit Biosciences Begins Dosing Patients in Phase I Clinical Trial of Lead Kinase Inhibitor AC220
By Dross at 2007-04-10 22:44

Ambit Biosciences today announced that the first patients have been dosed in its Phase I clinical trial to evaluate AC220 in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemiaterm (AML).


The Phase I trial is a multi-center, open-label, sequential dose-escalation study that will enroll 20-40 patients with relapsed or refractory AML. AC220 will be administered daily via oral solution, beginning at 12 mg for 14 days and then increasing until the maximum tolerated dose is established. In addition to evaluating the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of AC220, the study will measure pharmacodynamics of the investigational drug by monitoring FLT3 receptor phosphorylation and peripheral blood blastterm counts.

read more | 2667 reads

Eliciting cytotoxic T lymphocytes against acute myeloid leukemia-derived antigens:
By Dross at 2007-04-03 00:00

Dendritic cells (DC) have been successfully used in clinical pilot studies to induce tumor-specific immunity as well as clinical response in selected patients. However, DC-based immunotherapy remains a challenge and several parameters need to be examined in order to optimize the induction of anti-tumor immune responses. This study focuses on DC vaccination for leukemiaterm and evaluates the in vitro efficacy of three different strategies for generating antigen-loaded DC-based vaccines for the induction of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted anti-leukemia cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. These included direct fusion of DC with leukemia cells to generate DC-leukemia cell hybrids, and DC pulsed with either apoptotic leukemia cell fragments or whole tumor cell lysates. Using either the U937 cell line or primary human acute myeloid leukemia blasts (AML), DC-leukemia cell hybrids were found to be the most potent in vitro inducers of CTL activity. DC pulsed with apoptotic tumor cell fragments were less efficient, but induced a more potent CTL response compared to tumor lysate-pulsed DC. The CTL responses were both MHC class I-restricted and antigen-specific, as shown by the inability of the CTL to lyse other control targets. The data presented here suggest that the method of antigen loading onto DC may be critical in the design of tumor vaccines.

read more | 2015 reads

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