Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists disprove two tenets of common leukemia

11.02.2005


Scientists at the Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-LIJ have made a discovery that refutes two longstanding beliefs about the most common leukemia in the western hemisphere. Due to the relatively slow disease progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), doctors thought it was caused by a gradual accumulation of leukemia cells that could not die. The new findings, published online today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, prove the exact opposite. The study will appear in the journal’s March 2005 print issue.



For decades, doctors and scientists believed that CLL was a static disease of long-lived white blood cells (lymphocytes) -- that the leukemia cells were both immortal and born at a slow rate, causing the slow rise in cell count over time. But researchers had been unable to find any problems with the leukemia cells’ process of cell suicide, called apoptosis, a normal part of the cell life cycle for which all cells are programmed. This was a hint that perhaps the leukemia cells were not immortal. Using a clever study design that required subjects only to drink water and give blood samples, the research team, led by Nicholas Chiorazzi, MD, director and CEO of the Institute for Medical Research, found that the leukemia cells are born at a fast rate and do indeed die. The slow rise in the cell count over time can be attributed to the difference between the birth and death rates of the cells, according to the study.

The scientists also found that there appeared to be a connection between poorer patient outcomes and the faster birth rates of the leukemia cells, regardless of the rate of cell death. "This particular finding may prove helpful in identifying patients who are at risk for worsening disease in advance of showing any clinical signs of deterioration," said Dr. Chiorazzi. He cautioned, however, that additional research is needed to establish its potential in guiding prognostic and treatment decisions. The study was small, examining 19 CLL patients.


A larger trial is already underway to gain greater insights into the correlation and its potential clinical applications. The multicenter study is being led by Kanti Rai, MD, associate investigator with the Institute for Medical Research, chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center and a world-renowned expert on CLL. More than 25 years ago, Dr. Rai developed a staging system for CLL that is still used today. Tahrun Wasil, MD, another well-known attending hematologist-oncologist at LIJ, is co-leading the trial with Dr. Rai. The study is being conducted in conjunction with the CLL Research Consortium (CRC), a multi-institutional project funded by the National Institutes of Health. The CRC includes LIJ Medical Center, University of California at San Diego, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic, and several sites that perform laboratory work alone, including the Burnham Institute and Sydney Kimmel Cancer Center.

To test his theory that leukemia cells were not immortal, Dr. Chiorazzi used "heavy water" to track cell production. Heavy water is simply water that weighs more at the molecular level than normal. Among its many uses in the body, water gets incorporated into everyone’s DNA. When a cell divides into two, the new cell gets an exact copy of the DNA from the original cell, so the incorporated heavy water serves as a tag that allows scientists to track the birth of new cells.

The researchers gave individuals with CLL a small dose of heavy water -- about two ounces -- every day over the course of 12 weeks, enough time for the cells to incorporate a sufficient amount into their DNA. From blood samples, they calculated the birth and death rates of leukemia cells. They found that CLL is very much a dynamic process composed of mortal cells that proliferate and die, often with a high turnover, and not a static disease in which leukemia cells slowly build up because they cannot die, as previously thought.

Christina Verni | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nshs.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>