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
Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system
23.05.2017 | Princeton University
“Pregnant” Housefly Males Demonstrate the Evolution of Sex Determination
23.05.2017 | Universität Zürich
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy