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 From rigid to flexible
29.08.2016 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits
26.08.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

3-D-printed structures 'remember' their shapes

29.08.2016 | Materials Sciences

From rigid to flexible

29.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Sensor systems identify senior citizens at risk of falling within 3 weeks

29.08.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>