New potential treatment opportunities for leukemia patients

April 14, 2014
Professor Fabienne Mackay researches the effect of cancer on the immune system in her lab at Monash University.

(Medical Xpress)—The long-term survival of people suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) could be increased with the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Ground-breaking research by Monash University Professor Fabienne Mackay from the Department of Immunology and PhD student Damien Easton-Saulep has been released today in the prestigious journal Leukemia that uncovers never before reported aspects of CLL.

Becoming increasingly more prevalent, CLL is the most common leukemia in the developed world and has no cure.

Funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) and National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC), Professor Mackay's research found that key cells called "", which are important for fighting infections and stimulating other in the destruction of tumor and , are actually eliminated in people with aggressive CLL.

Professor Mackay said CLL patients with a milder form of CLL appeared to have more of these rare cells, suggesting some protective effect.

"These unprecedented findings reveal that these rare but critical cells can be restored at the experiment level, resulting in re-activated immune functions including the destruction of ," Professor Mackay said.

"These results provide supporting evidence that a similar approach might have therapeutic benefits in patients with CLL. In healthy people, the immune system usually helps detect and destroy cancer cells or infected cells as soon as they arise.

"In some people, cancer cells are able to disable the immune system and as a result these people are more vulnerable to severe infections and no longer capable of controlling the emergence of cancer cells."

Professor Mackay said these people were typically more vulnerable to infections because the immune system was disabled.

"It is hoped that these discoveries will be an important turning point for the development of new therapeutic strategies that reactivate the , and enhance the long-term survival of CLL patients particularly vulnerable to fatal complications with infections."

Explore further: Researchers develop new approach to chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment

More information: "Cytokine-driven loss of plasmacytoid dendritic cell function in chronic lymphocytic leukemia." D Saulep-Easton, F B Vincent, M Le Page, A Wei, S B Ting, C M Croce, C Tam and F Mackay. Leukemia (18 March 2014). DOI: 10.1038/leu.2014.105

Related Stories

Researchers develop new approach to chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment

March 14, 2014
Dartmouth researchers have developed a novel and unique approach to treating Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), a form of blood cancer that often requires repeated chemotherapy treatments to which it grows resistant. The ...

The mouse that ROR'ed: ROR1 oncogene combines with another to accelerate, worsen blood cancer

January 2, 2014
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that an oncogene dubbed ROR1, found on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells but not normal adult tissues, acts as an accelerant when combined ...

Study confirms target of potent chronic leukemia drug

December 19, 2013
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) helps confirm that a molecule targeted ...

Stem cells central to pathogenesis of mature lymphoid tumors

August 15, 2011
New research suggests that blood stem cells can be involved in the generation of leukemia, even when the leukemia is caused by the abnormal proliferation of mature cells. The study, published by Cell Press in the August 16th ...

Team studies obinutuzumab for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia

March 19, 2014
Two North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute doctors, world-renowned for their research in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), weigh in on a German study of a new drug therapy for CLL in the March 20 edition of the New England Journal ...

Monoclonal antibody targets, kills leukemia cells

March 25, 2013
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center have identified a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets and directly kills chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells.

Recommended for you

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

July 25, 2017
A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

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.