First genome-wide expression analysis yields better understanding of how leukemia develops

February 9, 2009

In a collaborative study published Feb. 9, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists performed a genome-wide expression analysis comparing highly enriched normal blood stem cells and leukemic stem cells, and identified several new pathways that have a key role in cancer development.

Many scientists believe the best way to eradicate cancer is to find therapies that target cancer's stem cells, the cells thought to be responsible for maintaining the disease. Most cancer treatments today fail to attack cancer at its root, which is why the disease can recur despite aggressive therapy.

Before the development of cancer stem cell therapies can take place, however, scientists must improve our understanding of the similarities and differences between biological networks active in leukemic stem cells and their normal cell counterparts

The PNAS paper showed that by using modern microarray technology, scientists could reveal a swath of stem-cell pathways - some of which were already well known and others not previously implicated in leukemia and other cancers. In fact, researchers identified 3,005 differentially expressed genes. Among them, a ribosome and T-cell receptor signaling pathway emerged as new players in the regulation of cancer stem cells.

The direct comparison of leukemic stems cells (obtained by consent from patients) to normal blood stem cells, also provides critical insight into the differences found in malignancy that may be used to develop targeted therapy, said Michael W. Becker, M.D., an assistant professor at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Becker was a co-first author.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center

Explore further: Is nature mostly a tinkerer or an inventor?

Related Stories

Is nature mostly a tinkerer or an inventor?

August 18, 2015

The Krüppel-like factor and specificity protein (KLF/SP) genes are found across many species, ranging from single cell organisms to humans. This gene family has been conserved during evolution, because it plays a vital role ...

Capturing cell growth in 3-D

August 14, 2015

Replicating how cancer and other cells interact in the body is somewhat difficult in the lab. Biologists generally culture one cell type in plastic plates, which doesn't represent the dynamic cell interactions within living ...

How a single molecule turns one immune cell into another

July 30, 2015

All it takes is one molecule to reprogram an antibody-producing B cell into a scavenging macrophage. This transformation is possible, new evidence shows, because the molecule (C/EBPa, a transcription factor) "short-circuits" ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

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.