One cell's meat is another cell's poison

May 30, 2014
The loss of JAK2 is advantageous for leukemia cells. Credit: Sabine Fajmann / Vetmeduni Vienna

As a new therapeutic approach, Janus kinases are currently in the limelight of cancer research. The focus of interest is the protein JAK2. By inhibiting this protein one tries to cure chronic bone marrow diseases, such as myelofibrosis and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Loss of JAK2 is advantageous for leukemia cells

Scientists working with Veronika Sexl at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology may initiate a transformation of thought in regard of JAK2 inhibition. To simulate the human disease as accurately as possible, the scientists used a mouse leukemia model. In an experiment, mice received blood cancer cells as well as healthy hematopoietic stem cells in which JAK2 had been removed. "In mice, the absence of JAK2 accelerated the course of leukemia drastically," the scientists concluded.

The loss of JAK2 caused healthy to disappear in mice. "Leukemic cells, on the other hand, remained entirely unaffected; they do not need JAK2. This led to an imbalance in which the number of was very predominant, and eventually caused the acceleration of leukemia," says Eva Grundschober, one of the lead authors.

"The oncogene BCR-ABL, which was present in mice with leukemia, does not appear to require JAK2 for its activity. However, JAK2 is essential for ," explains Andrea Hölbl-Kovacic, the other lead author.

JAK2 is important for survival of hematopoietic stem cells

A closer investigation of healthy stem cells supports this hypothesis. In the absence of JAK2, healthy stem cells cannot survive and reproduce blood cells. As the next step, the following question will be raised in Sexl's laboratory: how does JAK2 mediate its life-sustaining effect on healthy stem cells? What portions of the JAK2 protein are required for this purpose and are these affected by current therapies?

Explore further: Unraveling tumor growth one stem cell at a time

More information: The article "Acceleration of Bcr-Abl+ leukemia induced by deletion of JAK2", by Eva Grundschober, Andrea Hölbö-Kovacic, Neha Bhagwat, Boris Kovacic, Ruth Scheicher, Eva Eckelhart, Karoline Kollmann, Matthew Keller, Florian Grebien, Kay-Uwe Wagner, Ross L. Levine and Veronika Sexl was published today in the journal Leukemia. DOI: 10.1038/leu.2014.152

Related Stories

Unraveling tumor growth one stem cell at a time

June 4, 2013
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that a single mutation in a leukemia-associated gene reduces the ability of blood stem cells to make more blood stem cells, but leaves their progeny daughter cells ...

Jak of all trades? Not of leukaemia therapy

January 30, 2012
About one in five or six cases of adult leukaemia in Western populations relates to so-called chronic myeloid leukaemia, or CML. Treatment of CML usually relies on inhibitors of the abnormal protein that causes the condition ...

Combination therapy using JAK2 and HSP90 inhibitors increased efficacy in myelofibrosis in vivo

December 9, 2012
Researchers have demonstrated that combination therapy with PU-H71 and ruxolitinib increases the durability and effectiveness of a treatment that had previously shown limited utility for patients with myelofibrosis.

Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders

February 16, 2012
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have revealed new details about how cell signalling is controlled in the immune system, identifying in the process potential new therapeutic targets for treating severe blood disorders.

Genetic finding offers hope for orphan disease

June 22, 2011
New research conducted at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, offers hope for people with a rare disorder called Chuvash polycythemia.

Recommended for you

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

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.