About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Scientists Discover Blood Cancer Cell Survival Mechanism

by Medindia Content Team on August 27, 2007 at 6:11 PM
Font : A-A+

Scientists Discover Blood Cancer Cell Survival Mechanism

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of blood cancer in which specific white blood cells, called B lymphocytes or B cells, build up in the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. The lifespan of a normal B cell is limited by an internal self-destruct program but, in cancer cells, this mechanism breaks down. B cells that don't self-destruct can live on to multiply and eventually accumulate in dangerous amounts.

A team of scientists headed by Prof. Idit Shachar of the Weizmann Institute's Immunology Department and Dr. Michal Haran of the Hematology Institute of the Kaplan Medical Center recently discovered what makes these cancer cells stay alive. They then launched a targeted attack on the survival mechanism they discovered and succeeded in significantly raising cancer cell mortality rates. Their findings, which appeared recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), may lead to future treatments for this disease, as well as for other diseases in which B lymphocytes accumulate in the blood.

Advertisement

In previous research, Shachar had found that a specific receptor - a protein on the outer surface of healthy B cells - fulfills a crucial role in helping these cells to survive. She wondered if the same protein might also be a central player in the abnormally high survival rates of cancerous B cells.

Members of Shachar's research team, including Inbal Binsky, Diana Starlets, Yael Gore, and Frida Lantner, together with Kaplan Medical Center doctors Haran, Lev Shvidel, Prof. Alan Berrebi and Nurit Harpaz, scientists from Yale University, and David Goldenberg of the Garden State Cancer Center in New Jersey, examined B cells taken from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. They discovered that, even in the earliest stages of the disease, these cells have an unusually high level of both the survival receptor and another protein that binds to the receptor.
Advertisement

The scientists found that this protein, in binding to the receptor, initiates a series of events within the cell that leads to enhanced cell-survival capabilities. For instance, in one of these events, a substance is produced that helps to regulate the cell's lifespan. This substance causes another protein to be produced, which then prevents the self-destruct program from being activated.

The team treated the chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells with an antibody that attached to the survival receptor, blocking its activity and causing the cancer cell death rate to soar.

The antibodies they used are produced by the firm Immunomedics, in New Jersey, and are currently entering clinical trials for the treatment of several different types of cancer. Following this research, which has revealed the mechanism for the antibody's actions, the company is planning trials for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well.

Shachar: "The abnormally elevated levels of this receptor seem to be important factors in the development of this disease, right from the beginning, and they are responsible for the longevity of these cancerous B cells. Blocking the receptor or other stages in the pathway they activate might be a winning tactic, in the future, in the war against cancers involving B cells."

Source: Newswise
SRM/J
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Thalassemia Cancer and Homeopathy Cancer Facts Cancer Hairy Cell Leukemia Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation Bombay Blood Group Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment 

Recommended Reading
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is one of the most common types of adult leukemia and is ......
Leukemia
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Leukemia...
Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation
Blood in stools results from bleeding that arises from any part of the digestive tract. Causes of bl...
Bombay Blood Group
Bombay blood group is a rare blood type in which the people have an H antigen deficiency. They can r...
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Hairy Cell Leukemia
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a type of leukemia where there are increased numbers of abnormal B-lymp...
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are promising drugs to treat a variety of cancers and the FDA has appro...
Thalassemia
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to prod...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use