Therapy targets leukemia stem cells

February 13, 2012, Cell Press

New research takes aim at stubborn cancer stem cells that are thought to be responsible for treatment resistance and relapse. The study, published by Cell Press in the February 14 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, provides insight into mechanisms associated with the survival of leukemia stem cells and identifies a potential therapeutic target that is specific for these dangerously persistent cells.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the for which are currently the first line of therapy. These drugs prolong survival, but is often seen after drug treatment is stopped. "Tyrosine kinase inhibitors do not eliminate leukemia stem cells, which remain a potential source of ," explains senior coauthor Dr. Ravi Bhatia from the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. "CML patients need to take tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment indefinitely, which carries a significant risk of toxicity, lack of compliance, drug resistance, relapse, and associated expense."

Strategies targeting leukemia stem cells are necessary to achieve a cure. Previous work has implicated the enzyme sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) in protecting stem cells from stress and in playing a role in leukemia, as well as other types of cancer. In the current study, Dr. Bhatia, coauthor Dr. WenYong Chen, first author Ling Li, and their colleagues investigated whether SIRT1 was involved in the survival and growth of CML stem cells. The researchers discovered that SIRT1 was overexpressed in CML stem cells and that inhibition of SIRT1selectively reduced the survival and growth of CML stem cells. Importantly, SIRT1 inhibition was associated with activation of the .

Taken together, the results reveal a specific mechanism that supports the survival of leukemia stem cells. "Our findings are important because they show that SIRT1-mediated inactivation of p53 contributes to CML leukemia stem cell survival and resistance to treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors," concludes Dr. Chen. "We suggest that SIRT1 inhibition is an attractive approach to selectively target leukemia stem cells that resist elimination by current treatments."

Explore further: Fish oil may hold key to leukemia cure

Related Stories

Fish oil may hold key to leukemia cure

December 22, 2011
A compound produced from fish oil that appears to target leukemia stem cells could lead to a cure for the disease, according to Penn State researchers. The compound -- delta-12-protaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3 -- targeted and ...

Recommended for you

Research team discovers drug compound that stops cancer cells from spreading

June 22, 2018
Fighting cancer means killing cancer cells. However, oncologists know that it's also important to halt the movement of cancer cells before they spread throughout the body. New research, published today in the journal Nature ...

Dying cancer cells make remaining glioblastoma cells more aggressive and therapy-resistant

June 21, 2018
A surprising form of cell-to-cell communication in glioblastoma promotes global changes in recipient cells, including aggressiveness, motility, and resistance to radiation or chemotherapy.

Existing treatment could be used for common 'untreatable' form of lung cancer

June 21, 2018
A cancer treatment already approved for use in certain types of cancer has been found to block cell growth in a common form of lung cancer for which there is currently no specific treatment available.

Higher body fat linked to lower breast cancer risk in younger women

June 21, 2018
While obesity has been shown to increase breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, a large-scale study co-led by a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher found the opposite is true ...

Researchers uncover new target to stop cancer growth

June 21, 2018
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a protein called Munc13-4 helps cancer cells secrete large numbers of exosomes—tiny, membrane-bound packages containing proteins and RNAs that stimulate ...

New treatment helps avoid deafness in child chemotherapy patients

June 21, 2018
An international trial has found that a medicine commonly used to treat poisoning is effective in reducing deafness in children receiving chemotherapy for cancer.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.