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Research Reveals New Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment Target

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Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, have made new discoveries in the treatment of an aggressive forms of leukemia, acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia.  The study, which was published in the online edition of Cancer Cell, demonstrates the role of two molecules, phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) gamma and delta, involved in the development of acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia (T-ALL).

The new discovery by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, can provide new therapeutic target for leukemia treatment. If researchers manage to develop a drug to acts only on the blasts, they will be able to reduce the toxicity of current treatment for leukemia, which consists of a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, corticosteroids and growth factors. Study leader Diacovo Thomas, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and pathology and cell biology at CUMC, said the dual PI3K gamma / delta inhibitor is already highly effective against this type of cancer in mice models.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

In studies on rats, Dr. Diacovo and his team, led by Dr. Subramaniam showed that administration of CAL-130, an experimental inhibitor of PI3K gamma and delta, reduces the number of blasts. Moreover in blood samples taken from patients with leukemia, CAL-130 prevented the proliferation of lymphoblastic leukemia.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by excessive production of lymphoblasts. These cancer cells produced in excess by the bone marrow infiltrate other organs and can cause death. The disease is common in young children, with a maximum occurrence in the range of 2-5 years. Symptoms and signs of acute lymphoblastic leukemia include weakness, fatigue, fever, infections, anemia, weight loss, bruising, petechiae, dyspnea. It also may occur with symptoms related to organ infiltration of blasts (immature cells, young, produced in excess), such as joint or bone pain, splenomegaly (enlarged spleen). This type of leukemia occurs through mutations in DNA from exposure to radiation or chemicals. Moreover, studies have shown the connection between the victims of attacks of Hiroshima and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Some also believe that this type of leukemia can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals present at workplace, such as benzene and certain pesticides or herbicides. Another cause of leukemia, but secondary, is related to the treatment of cancer.

Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia currently consists of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, corticosteroids, growth factors, but most times leukemia patients receive combined therapy. What is particularly in acute lymphoblastic leukemia is its resistance to treatment and the average 25% relapse cases.