Scientists from Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) have identified a gene that helps in progression of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow disease.
They believe that the new gene called RhoB could prove to be a therapeutic target for late-stage MDS.
"Using our genetic models, we've been able to provide a better understanding of underlying molecular defects that drive the malignant progression of MDS," said VARI Distinguished Scientific Investigator Dr Art Alberts.
"The genes that we've focused on in this study might have a role not only in leukemia, but in solid tumors as well," said Alberts.
The researchers had previously found that the Drf1 gene is crucial to the development of MDS.
In the new study, the lab found that the RhoB gene is important as well; lack of the proteins that are the product of the gene accelerates the disease's progression. he researchers believe examining RhoB levels in samples from patients with advanced MDS could help direct them to better treatment options.
"Our goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets and develop new drugs that affect their activity, but also to find ways to improve upon existing therapeutic strategies that are often associated with deleterious side effects," said Alberts.
The findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.