Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma
Researchers studying the molecular signals that drive a specific type of lymphoma have discovered a key biological pathway leading to this type of cancer. Cancerous cells have been described as being "addicted" to certain oncogenes (cancer-causing genes), and the new research may lay the groundwork for breaking that addiction and effectively treating aggressive types of B cell lymphoma.
B cell lymphomas, which occur both in children and adults, are cancers that attack B cells in the immune system.
"Our research suggests ways to devise more specific therapies to selectively kill tumor cells in a subset of lymphomas," said study leader Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko, Ph.D., an oncology researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
An oncogene is a type of gene that normally produces a protein active in cell growth or regulation. However, when the gene is mutated or otherwise overproduced, it can cause cancer. One family of oncogenes is called MYC, and the current study focused on how the MYC oncogene drives B cell lymphoma. MYC codes for Myc, a type of protein called a transcription factor. At high levels, Myc causes the uncontrolled cell growth that is a hallmark of cancer.
The researchers focused on the crucial role of the cell surface receptor CD19, a protein residing on the surface of all B cells that normally recognizes foreign invaders. "We found that CD19 is absolutely required to stabilize the Myc protein," said Thomas-Tikhonenko. "When Myc is stable and present in high levels, it fuels cancer." Patients with high levels of the Myc protein are more likely to die of lymphoma.
Patients with high levels of Myc also had high levels of CD19, and the current study describes a previously unknown molecular pathway that depends on CD19. It also implicates CD19 as a molecular on-off switch on that pathway. Usually, said Thomas-Tikhonenko, when you inhibit one pathway, another pathway compensates to produce the same end result. But in this case, there is no such redundant pathway: "Without CD19, there is no Myc," he added, "so controlling that on-off switch could represent a powerful tool against lymphoma."
The findings are particularly relevant, said Thomas-Tikhonenko, to current oncology clinical trials that are testing antibodies that act broadly against the CD19 receptor. Such antibodies kill all B cells, and thus weaken the immune system. His study suggests that understanding the CD19 pathway could enable researchers to design a more specific therapy that selectively kills tumor cells while sparing healthy B cells.
Further studies in his lab, he added, will further investigate these molecular pathways and how to translate this knowledge into future anti-cancer treatments.
More information: "CD19 is a major B cell receptor-independent activator of MYC-driven B-lymphomagenesis," The Journal of Clinical Investigation, published online May 1, 2012, doi:10.1172/JCI45851
Provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Lymphoma therapy could deliver a double punch Apr 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Silencing small but mighty cancer inhibitors Dec 10, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers zero in on the tiniest members in the war on cancer Dec 13, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Stopping ovarian cancer by blocking proteins coded by notorious gene Dec 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Breaking oncogene's hold on cancer cell provides new treatment direction Dec 08, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs are small molecules that help control the expression of specific proteins. In recent years they have emerged as disease biomarkers. miRNA profiles have been used ...
Cancer May 24, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Cancer cells spread and grow by avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. Stimulation of the immune system can help to eliminate cancer cells; however, there are many factors that cause the immune system to ...
Cancer May 24, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
Cancer May 24, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Transformative research from Western University has identified new hormones in the body which may suppress breast cancer and stimulate the regression of breast tumors.
Cancer May 24, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Curtin University researchers have found evidence that targeting specific cells in the body can reverse the effects of cancer on the immune system.
Cancer May 24, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality ...
20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (6) | 5
Heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS), according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. AS, also referred to as male 'menopause', was four times ...
20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 1
(HealthDay)—Animals make great companions for senior citizens, but elderly people who always drive with a pet in the car are far more likely to crash than those who never drive with a pet, researchers have ...
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
May 20, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (31) | 9 |
May 22, 2013 | 4.3 / 5 (6) | 6 |
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...
20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0