SAN DIEGO (August 3, 2009) La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology researchers studying an enzyme believed to play a role in allergy onset, instead have discovered its previously unknown role as a tumor suppressor that may be important in myeloproliferative diseases and some types of lymphoma and leukemia. Myeloproliferative diseases are a group of disorders characterized by an overproduction of blood cells by the bone marrow and include chronic myeloid leukemia. Lymphoma and leukemia are cancers of the blood.
"PLC-beta 3 is an enzyme, but the function we found was a completely different function that no one knew it had -- as a tumor suppressor," said the La Jolla Institute's Toshiaki Kawakami, M.D., Ph.D., who led the research team. The study, conducted in animal models, could eventually lead to the development of new therapies directed towards controlling this newly discovered cellular mechanism.
Tony Hunter, Ph.D., director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center and a professor in Salk's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, called the finding an "important" step in advancing understanding of blood cancers. "It's very interesting that this molecule acts in this way independently of its enzyme activity," he said. "It's quite an unexpected finding and it definitely has the potential for helping the scientific community understand the mechanisms leading to some types of leukemia."
The findings are being published online today in the journal Cancer Cell in a paper entitled "Tumor Suppression by Phospholipase C-
Dr. Kawakami said he and his research team got their first inkling of something unexpected fairly early on in their experiments. "We wanted to better understand the PLC-beta 3 enzyme's possible role as a signalin
|Contact: Bonnie Ward|
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology