Leukemia Stem Cell Trigger Discovered

by Bradley J. Fikes ,  UT San Diego | 2012-12-28

A UC San Diego-led team has discovered an enzyme that makes chronic myeloid leukemia drug-resistant.

While new treatments have helped fight the disease, CML and some other blood cancers remain hard to fight because some cancer cells survive treatment. These cancer stem cells can multiply and metastasize. In CML, also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, these cells can lay dormant for long periods, only to erupt into activity again and reawaken the disease.

The enzyme mechanism found by the research presents a new target for therapies.

Led by UCSD's Catriona H.M. Jamieson, the study was published was published in the Dec. 24 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study's first author was Qingfei Jiang, also of UCSD.

Inflammation, known to be associated with cancer, increases the activity of an enzyme called adenosine deaminase, or ADAR1, according to the study. This causes a missplicing of RNA, which can cause errors in proteins made from the RNA.



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