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Discovery pinpoints cause of 2 types of leukemia
Date:5/10/2013

PORTLAND, Ore. − Patients with two forms of leukemia, who currently have no viable treatment options, may benefit from existing drugs developed for different types of cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The study, published in the May 9 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, isolated the molecular mutation that causes chronic neutrophilic leukemia (CNL) and atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML) in some patients. That mutation, occurring in a gene called colony stimulating factor 3 receptor (CSF3R), initiates a chain reaction involving other gene families known as SRC, JAK, and TNK2, which subsequently drives these diseases.

This discovery is promising for patients as it will aid in diagnosing these cancers, which are currently difficult for physicians to distinguish from other leukemias. More importantly, the study results suggest that these patients could be helped by existing FDA-approved drugs designed to inhibit the chain reactions impacting JAK and SRC/TNK2, though clinical trials are needed.

"Our ability to rapidly pinpoint a new cancer-driving mutation demonstrates the power of integrating improved genome sequencing technology. It will accelerate our ability to tailor treatments to individuals and each research victory gives us more insight into the nature of this complex disease," said Jeffrey W. Tyner, Ph.D., an assistant professor with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Cell & Developmental Biology Department, whose lab led the research. "What distinguished this research was our method for matching voluminous amounts of gene sequencing data with drug sensitivity data to quickly deduce which mutations were relevant in causing disease and this allows us to make a difference for patients who don't currently have good therapeutic options."

Tyner and the other researchers who conducted this study u
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Contact: Elisa Williams
willieli@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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