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A Novel Approach That Could Effectively Treat Leukemia

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A Novel Approach That Could Effectively Treat LeukemiaA recent study has shown a protein signature which can be useful in treating leukemia. There exists a competition between some proteins that further creates an imbalance which consequently results to leukemia.

According to the study, the activation of STAT5 protein leads to competition amongst other proteins that result in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also called as ALL. Initial activation of this STAT5 protein could be prevented and the natural balance of proteins can be restored by developing a drug. By this way ALL might be treated more efficiently.

Among all newly-diagnosed cancer patients in the U.S, blood cancer accounts for 10 percent. Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of cancer in which too much immature lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell are produced by the bone marrow. ALL is found in three out of every four leukemia cases and is mostly seen in children less than five years of age.

Earlier research demonstrates that some genetic mutations that are found in leukemia play a role in causing the disease. Researchers forced the activation of STAT5 protein in mice and found that it always resulted in leukemia.

Leukemia and Protein Signature

Seth Frietze, assistant professor in medical laboratory and radiation sciences at the University of Vermont mentions that The main breakthrough of this study is that a protein signature originated from observing at the level of activated proteins against the other proteins, is very prognostic of how an ALL patient will react to the treatment. He also added, This is a novel result; if we could develop drugs to prevent that activation, it might be a highly efficient approach in leukemia treatment.

Michael Farrar from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota is the corresponding author of this study. Michael and his 10-researcher team followed an innovative approach that includes studying patient samples and unique mouse models in association with epigenetic analysis, proteomic analysis and high-throughput DNA sequencing. They found that cases with high ratio of imbalances in STAT5 to IKAROS or NF-kB proteins had worse prognosis.

Frietze explains that This study offers a novel way to risk-stratify patients and find those who are at higher risk or relapse and may so require more intense treatment to cure their disease.”