Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping the Kraken asleep: inhibiting CDK6 prevents leukemic relapse

27.01.2015

Despite enormous progress in cancer therapy, many patients still relapse because their treatment addresses the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause, the so-called stem cells. Work in the group of Veronika Sexl at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna has given a tantalizing clue to a solution. In the current issue of Blood, the scientists report that the cell-cycle kinase CDK6 is required for activation of the stem cells responsible for causing leukemia.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are normally inactive, i.e. quiescent. When new blood cells are needed, for example to replace blood that has been lost, HSCs start to multiply and develop into mature blood cells. If the process is initiated at an inappropriate time, hematopoietic diseases such as leukemia may result and leukemic stem cells may develop.


CDK6 is needed for leukemic stem cell activation (left). When CDK6 is absent, the LSC remains in a quiescent state and leukemia formation is prohibited (right).

Angelika Berger / Vetmeduni Vienna

These represent a major challenge to leukemia therapy: they are quiescent and thus protected from elimination by the immune system and from treatment such as chemotherapy. Leukemic stem cells frequently cause relapse in cancer patients, often years or even decades after an apparently successful treatment.

Working with stem cells isolated from mice, Ruth Scheicher and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have investigated possible differences between leukemic stem cells and the healthy stem cells in the body.

They looked in particular at the function of the CDK6 protein, which is known to be involved in controlling the cell cycle. Surprisingly, CDK6 was also found to regulate the activation of hematopoietic and leukemic stem cells, which it does by inhibiting the transcription factor Egr1. Upon loss of CDK6, Egr1 becomes active and prevents stem cells from dividing.

In a further twist to the tale, the mechanism operates only when hematopoietic stem cells are stressed, e.g. in leukemia, and not in the normal physiological situation.

Scheicher is quick to note the significance of her finding. “CDK6 is absolutely necessary for leukemic stem cells to induce disease but plays no part in normal hematopoiesis. We thus have a novel opportunity to target leukemia at its origin. Inhibiting CDK6 should attack leukemic stem cells while leaving healthy HSCs unaffected”.

Service:

The article ‘CDK6 as a key regulator of hematopoietic and leukemic stem cell activation’ by Scheicher R, Hoelbl-Kovacic A, Bellutti F, Tigan AS, Prchal-Murphy M, Heller G, Schneckenleithner C, Salazar-Roa M, Zöchbauer-Müller S, Zuber J, Malumbres M, Kollmann K and Sexl V. was published in the journal Blood.
http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/125/1/90.long?sso-checked=true

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,300 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Prof. Veronika Sexl
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-2910
veronika.sexl@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/infoservice/presseinformation/press-releases-2015/...

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>