Scientists demonstrate potential new treatment for most common form of infant leukaemia

Cambridge scientists based at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge have shown that a potential new drug could treat mixed-lineage leukaemia (MLL) according to a study published in Nature on the 2nd October.

The researchers showed that a chemical agent called I-BET151 mimics certain chemical tags and prevents the BET family of proteins and a gene called MLL from fusing with and activating leukaemia genes. Treatment of leukaemias in mice and human cancer cells in the lab showed that the chemical could halt the disease, paving the way for its use in patient trials.

Dr Brian Huntly, who co-led the study and is based at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge, said: “MLL leukaemia is very hard to treat and often the only option for patients who have become resistant to standard treatments is a bone marrow transplant. We hope these findings may in future mean that fewer children need this procedure.”

To read the full article from University of Cambridge research news click here

Dawson MA, Prinjha RK, Dittman A, Giotopoulos G, Bantscheff M, Chan W-i, Robson SC, Chung C-w, Hopf C, Savitski MM, Huthmacher C, Gudgin E, Lugo D, Beinke S, Chapman TD, Roberts EJ, Soden PE, Auger KR, Mirguet O, Doehner K, Delwel R, Burnett AK, Jeffrey P, Drewes G, Lee K, Huntly BJP, Kouzarides T “Inhibition of BET recruitment to chromatin as an effective treatment for MLL-fusion leukaemia” Nature (2011) doi:10.1038/nature10509 link


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