Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An unexpected way to cause leukaemia

08.04.2008
New mouse model grants insight into the genetic and molecular mechanisms underpinning acute myeloid leukaemia

Leukaemia – cancer of blood or bone marrow – is caused by mutations that allow defective blood cells to accumulate and displace healthy blood. To devise effective therapies it is crucial to know which mutations cause leukaemia and which cell type gives rise to leukaemic cells.

Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Italy, the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, UK, and the Universities of Harvard, USA, and Lund, Sweden, have now used genetic engineering to introduce a mutation found in human leukaemia patients into mice. In the current issue of Cancer Cell they report that the mutation causes leukaemia by triggering innate genetic programmes that allow white blood cells to proliferate uncontrollably. The findings have implications for the way leukaemia should be treated.

Blood is generated from a small number of multipotent stem cells that divide, differentiate and give rise to the many different cell types that make up the blood. At the same time they also maintain the pool of stem cells through a process called self-renewal. While differentiating, cells acquire specific properties and functions, but lose the capacity to self-renew in the way stem cells do. Mutations interfering with this process and promoting uncontrolled proliferation of certain blood cells can lead to leukaemia. Researchers of the group of Claus Nerlov at EMBL’s Mouse Biology Unit now prove that a mutation in a protein called C/EBPa causes acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a type of leukaemia affecting one lineage of white blood cells, in mice.

... more about:
»Mutation »blood cells »cause »leukaemia »stem cells

“10 percent of all patients suffering from AML have this mutation, but we could never be sure if it causes the disease. By precisely reproducing the human mutation in the mouse we now proved a causative relation,” says Peggy Kirstetter, who carried out the research in Nerlov’s lab.

Instead of promoting uncontrolled proliferation of malignant blood stem cells, as often assumed as the cause of leukaemia, the mutation acts on already partially differentiated cells. It reprogrammes these cells to self-renew and to produce countless dysfunctional daughter cells, which displace the healthy blood cells, eventually leading to the inability to transport oxygen around in the body.

“This is the first time that non-stem cell myeloid leukaemia has been generated within a healthy blood system. The findings will have profound implications for our understanding of the development and treatment of leukaemias,” says Nerlov.

Scientists always thought that the mutation was the crucial step leading to leukaemia that should be targeted by drugs. Nerlov and colleagues identified a genetic programme activated in self-renewing leukemic cells, which is shared with similar leukaemias caused by other types of mutations. The findings suggest that the cellular changes that lead to self-renewal are mutation-independent. To develop drugs with a more general efficacy it may therefore be more efficient to target the molecules and pathways shared between different cancer stem cells.

Published in Cancer Cell on 8 April 2008.

For more information visit: http://www.embl.org/aboutus/news/press/2008/07apr08/index.html

Anna-Lynn Wegener
Press Officer
EMBL
Meyerhofstrasse 1
D-69117 Heidelberg
tel. +49-6221-3878452
fax +49-6221-387525
wegener@embl.de

Anna-Lynn Wegener | EMBL
Further information:
http://www.embl.org
http://www.embl.org/aboutus/news/press/2008/07apr08/index.html

Further reports about: Mutation blood cells cause leukaemia stem cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>