Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new treatment for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia?

10.09.2004


IL-7, a hormone-like protein involved in cell-cell interaction, has been associated with increased survival and expansion of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). Now, in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, a team of scientists, not only confirms the essential role of this protein in the disease but also, for the first time, identifies the biochemical pathway affected by IL-7 in T-ALL cells, a discovery which could lead to the development of potential new treatments for the disease.



Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer which originates from an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the bone marrow (usually the white blood cells/lymphocytes). This results in very little space left for the growth of normal cells which leads to a weakened immune system. In the case of acute leukaemia the filling of the bone marrow space is extremely fast and the disease needs immediate treatment or the patient will die.

Leukaemia affects 4 out of every 100,000 people worldwide and is the most common childhood cancer. In the United States alone, every year, more than 2,000 children and almost 27,000 adults are diagnosed with the disease.


Cytokines, such as IL-7, are powerful chemical substances secreted usually, but not only, by the immune system to transmit information/instructions between cells. IL-7 is a potent growth factor for immune cells and is indispensable for normal T-cell development. Several studies have also suggested that IL-7 was involved in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia’s growth although there was no information on the mechanism(s) behind this effect.

João Barata, Angelo Cardoso, Vassiliki Boussiotis and colleagues at the Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston and at the Tumour Biology Unit, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal studied T-ALL cells cultured in the presence of IL-7 trying to understand, not only the real importance of this cytokine in the disease, but also the biochemical mechanism through which IL-7 mediated its effect on T-ALL.

In this paper, the team of researchers describe how they identify, for the first time, the cellular pathway in T-ALL cells which is affected by IL-7 (the pathway identified is called PI3K/Akt(PKB)), an information that can now help scientists in the search for new treatments for the disease.

Barata, Cardoso, Boussiotis and colleagues also discovered that IL-7 affects T-ALL metabolism, increasing energy production in T-ALL cells which results in increased cell division and, ultimately, tumour growth. The team of scientists found as well, that IL-7 presence induces an increase in T-ALL cell size. Interestingly, both phenomena have been previously associated with the induction of cancer.

These results confirmed the role of IL-7 in T-ALL growth and activation and led the team of scientists to suggest that this cytokine is indispensable for T-ALL biology which further highlights the unique importance of IL-7 as a potentially therapeutic target.

Barata, Cardoso, Boussiotis and colleagues write: ”Our results implicate PI3K as a major effector of IL-7-induced viability, metabolic activation, growth and proliferation of T-ALL cells, and suggest that PI3K and its downstream effectors may represent molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in T-ALL.”

Understanding the mechanism behind disease is the first step towards a better treatment with higher efficacy and fewer secondary effects. Leukaemia, like all cancers, is still mostly treated by chemo- and radio-therapy treatments which destroy both cancerous and healthy cells and any alternative therapy that can replace or at least supplement these extremely invasive and not always effective treatments is always good news for patients and doctors alike.

Catarina Amorim | alfa
Further information:
http://www.oct.mct.pt

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>