LA JOLLA, CA June 7, 2010 Scripps Research Institute scientists have discovered a new way to target and destroy a type of cancerous cell. The findings may lead to the development of new therapies to treat lymphomas, leukemias, and related cancers.
The study, which appears in the June 10, 2010 edition of the journal Blood, showed in animal models the new technique was successful in drastically reducing B cell lymphoma, a cancer of immune molecules called B cells.
"[The method] worked immediately," said Scripps Research Professor James Paulson, who led the research. "We are very interested in moving this technology forward to see if it would be applicable to treatment of humans and to investigate other applications for this kind of targeting."
A Sweet Spot
In his research program at Scripps Research, Paulson has studied glycoproteins, which are proteins decorated with sugars, for many years. While these molecules have traditionally proven challenging to understand, limiting their pharmaceutical applications, Paulson has pioneered new techniques to study and manipulate these enigmatic molecules.
In the new research, Paulson and his colleagues applied some of the lab's insights to a problem with great medical relevancefinding a new way to target and destroy cancer cells.
Specifically, in the new study the team set out to attack B cell lymphoma (which includes Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma), a type of cancer diagnosed most frequently in older individuals and those with compromised immune systems. Each year approximately 70,000 people are diagnosed with B cell lymphomas in the United States alone, according to the American Cancer Society. While the drug rituximab is often effective at treating the disease, each year 22,000 patients still die from B cell malignancies.
Normally, B cells provide an important immune function circulating throughout the bloodstream to help in the a
|Contact: Keith McKeown|
Scripps Research Institute