Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new target for lymphoma therapy

10.12.2009
Gene enhancer is responsible for activating cancer-causing genes in B cells

Researchers at the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Immune Disease Institute at Children's Hospital Boston (PCMM/IDI) have found a link between a common mutation that can lead to cancer and a distant gene regulator that enhances its activity. Discovery of this relationship could lead to drugs targeting B-cell lymphomas, including Burkitt's lymphoma, an aggressive cancer in children, as well as multiple myelomas and other blood-related cancers.

Lymphomas often originate in B cells, the same cells that produce antibodies to help fight infections. A B cell can become cancerous if a gene known as c-myc leaps to another section of DNA (the IgH region, responsible for building antibodies), fuses with it, and somehow becomes over-activated. Scientists have wondered for years how this oncogenic activation occurs, in particular what component in the IgH region activates c-myc. The new study, published in the Dec. 10 issue of Nature, identifies this regulatory component, and marks the first time researchers are able to understand how this movement of genes, or "chromosomal translocation," can hijack a B cell's operation badly enough to lead to cancer.

"IgH-to-myc translocation is the classic example of activation of an oncogene in cancer," says Frederick Alt, PhD, scientific director of PCMM/IDI and senior author of the study. "But nobody really understood how it works."

Aberrant DNA translocations can occur during two different stages of a B cell's development: during a process known as VDJ recombination, when a progenitor B cell creates an antibody to fight a specific pathogen, or during class switch recombination, when a mature B cell gives its antibody a different strategy to fight infection (changing from an IgM to an IgG antibody, for example). Based on their past research , Alt and his colleagues decided to focus on one part of the IgH region called IgH 3' regulatory region (IgH3'RR). They had already shown IgH3'RR to be a far-reaching gene regulator that enhances the transcription of neighboring genes in the IgH region during class switch recombination.

To investigate the relationship between IgH3'RR and lymphoma, the team, led by Alt and first author Monica Gostissa, PhD, of PCMM/IDI, deleted the IgH3'RR in a line of mutant mice previously generated in the Alt lab. These mice routinely develop a B-cell lymphoma in which c-myc is translocated to the IgH region of the DNA. However, without IgH3'RR, mature B cells did not become cancerous, suggesting that mature B cells -- from which most human lymphomas originate -- need IgH3'RR in order to develop into lymphoma.

"The study shows that the IgH3'RR is a key element for turning on the cancer-causing activity of c-myc after it is translocated to the IgH locus," says Alt. He noted that the study also shows that the cancer-causing activity of the IgH3'RR on c-myc can extend over surprisingly long chromosomal distances.

The study suggests the IgH3'RR as a new target for arresting lymphomas and other blood-related cancers that arise from mature B cells. Though inactivating IgH3'RR can impair a B cell's versatility in creating different classes of antibodies, it would not leave a patient immune-deficient because the B cells would retain some of their activity, says Gostissa. Furthermore, such a treatment would be reversible.

The next step is for the researchers to see what eliminating IgH3'RR will do to existing tumors, and then to create a cell-based drug screening assay to test for possible IgH3'RR inhibitors.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America (including funds from the de Villiers International Achievement Award). Alt is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Monica Gostissa, Catherine T. Yan, Julia M. Bianco, Michel Cogne, Eric Pinaud and Frederick W. Alt. "Long-range Oncogenic Activation of IgH/c-myc Translocations by the IgH 3' Regulatory Region."

Nature. Dec. 10, 2009.

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 396-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Rob Graham | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>