Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study pinpoints and plugs mechanism of AML cancer cell escape

A study published this week in the journal Leukemia identifies a mechanism that acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells use to evade chemotherapy – and details how to close this escape route.
“Introducing chemotherapy to cells is like putting a curve in front of a speeding car,” says Christopher Porter, MD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Cells that can put on the brakes make it around the corner and cells that can’t speed off the track.”

Porter and colleagues collaborated with James DeGregori, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the CU School of Medicine to define a molecular braking process that AML cells use to survive the curves of chemotherapy. They also showed that when this molecular brake is removed, AML cells (but not their healthy neighbors) die on the corners.

The discovery of this escape route and how to plug it provides hope for survival for a greater proportion of the estimated 12,950 people diagnosed with AML every year in the United States.

The group’s findings rely on the relatively new technique of functional genomic screening of AML cells, accomplished by the CU Cancer Center Functional Genomics Shared Resource at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Using techniques they developed, the group turned off a different gene in each of a population of AML cells all at once. Then they hit all cells with chemotherapy traditionally used for AML. The goal: to see which genes, when turned off, would make the cells especially susceptible to chemo.

In this study, which generated over 30 million data points, cells that lacked a gene to make something called WEE1 died in disproportionate numbers. When you turn off WEE1, cancer cells die.

“WEE1 is the brakes,” Porter says. “With chemotherapy we introduce DNA damage in cancer cells – we push them toward the curve hopefully at a greater rate than healthy cells. If WEE1 is there, cancer cells can round the curve. Without it, they flip.”

Hidden in Porter’s words is an element that makes this an especially exciting finding: AML cells may be more dependent than are healthy cells on WEE1. And so when you inhibit WEE1, you strip the brakes from cancer cells but not their healthy neighbors, killing AML cells but leaving healthy cells able to corner on rails.

“I’m optimistic that this will eventually lead to a therapeutic regimen that allows us to target AML cells that have escaped conventional therapies,” Porter says.

Porter calls the team’s initial results combining a drug that inhibits WEE1 with chemotherapy in mouse models of AML, “extremely promising.”

“In light of these data, we are already early in the clinical trial planning process,” Porter says.

This work was supported by the Colorado Golfers Against Cancer and the AMC Cancer Fund, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the National Cancer Institute through the University of Colorado Cancer Center (3P30CA046934-22S).

Garth Sundem | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: AML Cancer Colorado river Medicine WEE1 cancer cells healthy cell leukemia molecular genetic mouse model

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>