Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that abnormal bone marrow stem cells drive the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), serious blood diseases that are common among the elderly and that can progress to acute leukemia. The findings could lead to targeted therapies against MDS and prevent MDS-related cancers. The study is published today in the online edition of the journal Blood.
"Researchers have suspected that MDS is a 'stem cell disease,' and now we finally have proof," said co-senior author Amit Verma, M.B.B.S., associate professor of medicine and of developmental and molecular biology at Einstein and attending physician in oncology at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. "Equally important, we found that even after MDS standard treatment, abnormal stem cells persist in the bone marrow. So, although the patient may be in remission, those stem cells don't die and the disease will inevitably return. Based on our findings, it's clear that we need to wipe out the abnormal stem cells in order to improve cure rates."
MDS are a diverse group of incurable diseases that affect the bone marrow and lead to low numbers of blood cells. While some forms of MDS are mild and easily managed, some 25 to 30 percent of cases develop into an aggressive disease called acute myeloid leukemia. Each year, about 10,000 to 15,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with MDS, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.
Most cases of MDS occur in people over age 60, but the disease can affect people of any age and is more common in men than women. Symptoms vary widely, ranging from anemia to infections, fever and bleeding. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy to destroy abnormal blood cells plus supportive care such as blood transfusions.
In the current study, lead author Britta Will, Ph.D., research associate in the department of cell biology, and her colleagues analyzed bone marrow stem cells and progenitor cells (i.e., cells formed by stem cells) from 16 patients with various types of MDS and 17 healthy controls. The stem and progenitor cells were isolated from bone marrow using novel cell-sorting methods developed in the laboratory of co-senior author Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and of medicine and the Diane and Arthur B. Belfer Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research at Einstein.
Genome-wide analysis revealed widespread genetic and epigenetic alterations in stem and progenitor cells taken from MDS patients, in comparison to cells taken from healthy controls. The abnormalities were more pronounced in patients with types of MDS likely to prove fatal than in patients with lower-risk types.
"Our study offers new hope that MDS can be more effectively treated, with therapies that specifically target genes that are deregulated in early stem and progenitor cells," said Dr. Steidl. "In addition, our findings could help to detect minimal residual disease in patients in remission, allowing for more individualized treatment strategies that permanently eradicate the disease."
The paper is titled, "Stem and progenitor cells in myelodysplastic syndromes show aberrant stage specific expansion and harbor genetic and epigenetic alterations." Other Einstein contributors include: Li Zhou, Ph.D., Thomas O. Vogler, B.Sc., Carolina Schinke, M.D., Roni Tamari, M.D., Yiting Yu, Ph.D., Tushar Bhagat, M.S., Sanchari Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., Laura Barreyro, M.S., Christoph Heuck, M.D., Yongkai Mo, Ph.D., Samir Parekh, M.D., Christine McMahon, M.D., Cristina Montagna, Ph.D., John Greally, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D., and B. Hilda Ye, Ph.D. Other contributors include: Susana Ben-Neriah and Christian Steidl, M.D., at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Andrea Pellagatti, Ph.D., and Jacqueline Boultwood, Ph.D., at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK; Lewis Silverman, M.D., at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; Jaroslaw Maciejewski, M.D., Ph.D., at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; and Alan F. List, M.D. at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.
The research was supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HL082946) and the National Cancer Institute (CA131503), both part of the National Institutes of Health.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. In 2011, Einstein received nearly $170 million in awards from the NIH for major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS, as well as other areas. Through its affiliation with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, and four other hospital systems, the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.
Montefiore Medical Center
As the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore is a premier academic medical center nationally renowned for its clinical excellence, scientific discovery and commitment to its community. Montefiore is consistently recognized among the top hospitals nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and excels at educating tomorrow's healthcare professionals in superior clinical and humanistic care. Linked by advanced technology, Montefiore is a comprehensive and integrated health system that derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community. For more information, please visit www.montefiore.org and www.montekids.org and follow us on Twitter @MontefioreNews.
Kim Newman | EurekAlert!
Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
Calcium may play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease
19.02.2018 | University of Cambridge
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences