Researchers from Hong Kong and the U.S. have developed a new statistical and mapping method that could help identify drug targets for treating leukaemia.
In chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML), too many stem cells in the bone marrow are transformed into a type of white blood cell called granulocytes, making less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. CML occurs due to a chromosomal abnormality in which an abnormal gene is formed, called the BCR-ABL fusion gene. However, the development of CML is not fully understood, leading to limited treatment options.
The findings could help physicians develop more effective treatment strategies for chronic myelogenous leukaemia.
Copyright : Sebastian Kaulitzki
The BCR-ABL gene activates enzyme pathways that disrupt protein synthesis and cause uncontrolled cell growth. A better understanding of these pathways and how they are activated could lead to the discovery of drug targets for CML.
Past research has shown that the expression of a protein-coding gene called NPM1 changes in tumour cells. NPM1 was found to respond to signals from enzyme pathways initiated by the BCR-ABL gene.
Benjamin Yung’s research group at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University together with researchers from Harvard University in the U.S. and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong have developed a unique statistical and mapping strategy that identifies the relationships among those genes that are involved in the development of CML.
Using their unique statistical approach, the researchers quantified and analysed publicly available gene expression data of nine CML patients and eight healthy volunteers. They created networking maps from the data to facilitate the visualization of the connections among genes.
They compared NPM1 gene expressions with those from the BCR-ABL-initiated enzyme pathways in the CML patients and similar pathways that exist in healthy individuals. They also explored the role of NPM1 “doublets” – genes strongly co-expressed with NPM1 – in protein formation.
The researchers identified two sets of gene doublets that strongly co-expressed in CML patients but were not co-expressed in healthy individuals. These gene pairs may be related to CML development and thus could be an important target for drug research.
They also found that NPM1 established ten gene-expressing pairs with BCR-ABL pathways in CML patients but only two pairs with similar pathways in healthy individuals, which may mean that NPM1 mediates the activation of other cellular proliferation pathways in CML.
Finally, the researchers used a substance, called resveratrol, which is thought to have anti-cancer properties, on CML cells. Resveratrol caused a decrease in the expression of NPM1-related proteins and is thus a potential drug target for CML therapy.
The researchers’ findings could help physicians develop more effective treatment strategies for CML. Their statistical and mapping strategy can also be used to diagnose and develop treatments for other diseases.
For further information contact:
Professor Benjamin Yung
Department of Health Technology and Informatics
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Research SEA
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy