Killing cancer cells indirectly by powering up fat cells in the bone marrow could help acute myeloid leukemia patients, according to a new study from McMaster University.
Researchers with the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute found that boosting adipocytes, or fat cells, located in the bone morrow suppressed cancerous leukemia cells but - in a surprise to the research team -- induced the regeneration of healthy blood cells at the same time.
The production of healthy red blood cells is critical for those with acute myeloid leukemia but is sometimes overlooked as conventional treatments focus on killing the leukemia cells alone. Patients with this disease suffer from anemia and infection due to the failure of healthy blood production, all of which are leading causes of hospitalization and death from the disease.
The study was published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
"Our approach represents a different way of looking at leukemia and considers the entire bone marrow as an ecosystem, rather than the traditional approach of studying and trying to directly kill the diseased cells themselves," said Allison Boyd, postdoctoral fellow with the research institute and first author of the study.
"These traditional approaches have not delivered enough new therapeutic options for patients. The standard-of-care for this disease hasn't changed in several decades."
The McMaster-led study was conducted over the past three and half years and started from observations of leukemia patients. This led to the collection of bone marrow samples from larger cohorts of patients with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, as well as those from Western University and Hamilton Health Sciences, for the next steps of investigation. This included detailed study and imaging of individual leukemia cells compared to healthy cells residing in the bone marrow, which revealed the effects of targeting fat cells.
A drug commonly used to moderate diabetes that induces fat cell production in the bone marrow was used and was found to help foster red blood cell production as well as suppress leukemic disease.
"The focus of chemotherapy and existing standard-of-care is on killing cancer cells but instead we took a completely different approach which changes the environment the cancer cells live in," said Mick Bhatia, director and senior scientist with the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, who led the group that performed the study.
"This not only suppressed the "bad" cancer cells, but also bolstered the "good" healthy cells allowing them to regenerate in the new drug-induced environment."
"The fact that we can target one cell type in one tissue using an existing drug makes us excited about the possibilities of testing this in patients."
"We can envision this becoming a potential new therapeutic approach that can either be added to existing treatments or even replace others in the near future. The fact that this drug activates blood regeneration may provide benefits for those waiting for bone marrow transplants by activating their own healthy cells."
Funding for the study came from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and the Marta and Owen Boris Foundation.
Editors: Pictures of researchers of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute and illustrations related to this study are available upon request.
For more information, please contact:
Faculty of Health Sciences
905-525-9140, ext. 22196
Tina Depko | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
Sleep as energy saving mode
21.11.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Life Sciences