Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Major breakthrough in developing new cancer drugs: Capturing leukemic stem cells

18.03.2014

The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal (UdeM), in collaboration with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital's Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank, recently achieved a significant breakthrough thanks to the laboratory growth of leukemic stem cells, which will speed up the development of new cancer drugs.

In a recent study published in Nature Methods, the scientists involved describe how they succeeded in identifying two new chemical compounds that allow to maintain leukemic stem cells in culture when these are grown outside the body.


The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the Université de Montréal, in collaboration with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital's Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank, recently achieved a significant breakthrough thanks to the laboratory growth of leukemic stem cells, which will speed up the development of new cancer drugs.

In a recent study published in Nature Methods, the scientists involved describe how they succeeded in identifying two new chemical compounds that allow to maintain leukemic stem cells in culture when these are grown outside the body.

Top: This image shows acute myeloid leukemia cells presenting anomalies in standard growth conditions.

Below: This image shows acute myeloid leukemia cells preserving their leukemic cell features following in vitro culture with the two chemical molecules referred to in the study -- Pabst C, Krosl J, Fares I, Boucher G, Ruel R, Marinier A, Lemieux S, Hébert J, Sauvageau G. Identification of small molecules that support human leukemia stem cell activity ex vivo. Nature Methods. 2014-02-23.

Credit: Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the Université de Montréal

This important advance opens the way to the identification of new cancer drugs to fight acute myeloid leukemia, one of the most aggressive forms of blood cancer.

The ability to grow leukemic stem cells in culture is a major breakthrough. The next step is to study the molecular mechanisms that regulate the survival and proliferation of leukemic cells as well as the resistance to cancer drugs.

This study is the work of the "Leucégène" research group. This group is co-directed by Dr. Guy Sauvageau, chief executive officer and principal investigator at IRIC as well as professor in the Department of Medicine at the UdeM; by Dr. Josée Hébert, director of the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank, hematologist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and professor in the Department of Medicine at the UdeM; and by Sébastien Lemieux, principal investigator at IRIC. The first author of the study is Caroline Pabst, a postdoctoral fellow at IRIC and associate of the "Leucégène" research group.

"This research breakthrough demonstrates the advantage of working in a multidisciplinary team like the 'Leucégène' research group," stated Drs. Sauvageau and Hébert. "Access to cells of leukemia patients and to IRIC's state-of-the-art facilities are also key factors in pursuing ground-breaking research."

Background to the study

Stem cells located in the bone marrow are responsible for the production of blood cells. Unfortunately, deregulation of those cells often produces disastrous consequences when one of them develops mutations that transform it into a malignant cell called "leukemic". The result is an abnormal proliferation of blood cells and the development of leukemia. Leukemic stem cells are also one of the likely causes of patient relapse because they are especially resistant to cancer treatments.

The major obstacle before this discovery was growing stem cells and keeping them intact in vitro, because they quickly lost their cancer stem cell character. As a result, it was very difficult to effectively study the multiplication of cells that cause leukemia.

To get around that difficulty, the team of researchers studied leukemic stem cells from patients with acute myeloid leukemia, obtained from the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank. After thousands of tests using various chemicals, they identified two new chemical compounds that, when added to the culture medium, can keep functional human leukemic stem cells alive for at least seven days in vitro.

"Leucégène" research group

Made up of researchers from the Université de Montréal, the Université Laval and McGill University, the "Leucégène" research group is concerned with the identification of the genes and the factors that determine the chances of recovery from acute myeloid leukemia, and with the discovery of new therapies for this cancer.

###

Funding for this research project

This research project was financed by grants from Genome Quebec and Genome Canada, the Cancer Research Network of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells, Research Chair in Leukemia, supported by Industrielle-Alliance (Université de Montréal), the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) as well as the Cole Foundation.

William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Cancer Genome IRIC Medicine Quebec acute culture developing drugs leukemia leukemic myeloid proliferation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center
29.04.2016 | Marine Biological Laboratory

nachricht A New Discovery in the Fight against Cancer: Tumor Cells Switch to a Different Mode
29.04.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems

29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels

29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine

A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center

29.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>