Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Possible New Treatment Option for Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

AML is the most common form of adult leukemia accounting for some twenty-five percent of adult patients with leukemia.  The standard protocol for treatment involves a shot-gun approach using non- selective chemotherapy to induce successful remission.   Although this clinical methodology has shown to be effective for most patients, other avenues of treatment are needed for those who prove refractory to the standard approach and to those patients who cannot endure high dose chemotherapy.

The biology of cancer cells has progressed dramatically since the complete sequencing of the human genome.  As a result, it has been clearly established that cancer is the result of genetic mutations that involve either/or those genes referred to as proto-oncogenes involved in normal cell division and tumor suppressor genes involved in the normal suppression of cell division The new era of cancer treatment involves the development of methodologies to specifically target these mutations either by developing specialized drugs to target these changes or mobilizing the immune system through targeted immunotherapy.

Dr. Anuradha Illendula and his colleagues from the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, using the mouse animal model,  have developed a small molecule referred to as AI-10-49 that effectively binds to a transcription factor subunit referred to as core bind factor β (CBFβ).

Molecular Structure of AI-10-49 -

These investigators were able to show that the use of A!-10-49 not only prolonged the survival of mice transplanted with leukemic cells without any observable toxic effects but was also able to inhibit the proliferation of a sub-type of human AML cells grown in culture.  These findings are of particular importance for this approach may serves as a model for development of drugs specifically targeting "uninhibited cell division resulting from genetically altered transcription factor function."

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