Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Zebrafish models identify high-risk genetic features in leukemia patients

11.05.2011
Genes predict worst-case scenario

Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer; it also occurs in adults. Now researchers working with zebrafish at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have identified previously undiscovered high-risk genetic features in T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL), according to an article published online May 9, 2011, in the cancer research journal Oncogene. When compared to samples from human patients with T-ALL, these genetic characteristics allowed scientists to predict which patients may have more aggressive forms of the disease that either recur after remission or do not respond to treatment.

While there are several subtypes, in all leukemias the body overproduces certain blood cells that have not matured properly. In this study, the researchers investigated a particular type of leukemia that results from genetic mutations in T-cells, a type of white blood cell found in both humans and zebrafish.

Using a technique called serial transplantation, the research team studied T-ALL in zebrafish and selected cancer cells from those in which the disease advanced more rapidly for further testing. This method allowed the research team to zero in on genes associated with T-ALL's most aggressive forms. They then compared these genetic features to samples from human patients whose clinical outcomes with T-ALL are known.

"We can cure 80% of the children who come to us with leukemia, but there are 20 percent we cannot cure. Sometime the cures come at a high cost to patients in immediate and delayed side effects from chemotherapy," said Nikolaus Trede, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah (U of U) School of Medicine, HCI investigator, and a senior author of the article. "These results may lead to tests that can show which children with the disease need the strongest chemotherapy to overcome their cancer. Children with less aggressive forms of leukemia can be cured with milder chemotherapy that produces fewer side effects, both during treatment and long after treatment is complete."

Kimble Frazer, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the U of U and a member of the Trede Lab, is co-senior author of the article. "One of the genes identified in the study had not previously been recognized as important in T-ALL," said Frazer. "Another gene, associated with patients whose outcomes were least favorable, has not received enough research attention to even have an official name. It only has an 'address' that tells its location on a specific chromosome."

The researchers stress that their results are still preliminary. They plan further laboratory studies to bolster the case that this unnamed gene with the address C7orf60 is important in the development of T-ALL. Additional zebrafish experiments that focus on this gene could be designed to amplify its effects and confirm its contribution to creating more, or hardier, leukemia. In the end, the research could lead to a test that would allow doctors to determine the best course of treatment for an individual leukemia patient by analyzing a blood sample.

Both Trede and Frazer credit the article's first-listed author, Lynnie Rudner, with much of the work leading to the published results. Rudner is the recipient of the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation's Seed Grant, one of only 38 individuals nationwide who received a seed grant in 2010, and a student in the U of U's M.D./Ph.D. program, which produces graduates qualified in both clinical practice and laboratory research.

Other co-authors include researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, University of Texas at Brownsville, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

This work was supported by funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, the American Medical Association, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the Children's Health Research Center at the University of Utah, and Huntsman Cancer Institute core facilities.

The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at The University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. HCI is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, which means that it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) a not-for-profit alliance of the world's leading cancer centers, which is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. For more information about HCI, please visit www.huntsmancancer.org.

Linda Aagard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu

Further reports about: Cancer HCI Medical Wellness T-ALL T-cell blood cell genetic mutation health services zebrafish

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht A 155 carat diamond with 92 mm diameter
22.03.2017 | Universität Augsburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>