Navigation Links
Therapies for ALL and AML targeting MER receptor hold promise of more effect with less side-effect

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center studies show that the protein receptor Mer is overexpressed in many leukemias, and that inhibition of this Mer receptor results in the death of leukemia cells without affecting surrounding, healthy cells.

The first study, published today in the journal Oncogene, worked with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), for which current chemotherapies offer a cure rate of only about 55 percent.

"In about 2/3 of all AML patients and about 90 percent of adult AML patients, we found that the Mer receptor was upregulated. Mer receptor protein shouldn't exist in normal myeloid cells, but we found it abnormally expressed," says Doug Graham, MD, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate professor of pediatrics and immunology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The Mer receptor sits within the cell membrane, and when it becomes activated the cell receives signals to grow and survive. Leukemia and perhaps many solid cancers have taken advantage of Mer's cell survival function to assist the cancer's rampant proliferation. When Graham and colleagues used shRNA to silence the production of Mer in leukemia cells, they showed decreased leukemia cell survival, increased sensitivity to existing chemotherapies and longer survival in mouse models of leukemia.

A second study, published this month in Blood Cancer Journal, shows similar results with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common pediatric cancer.

"The ALL cure rate is already over 80 percent, but for patients who relapse, the prognosis is much less optimistic. We need targeted therapies to use as second-line treatments for the population for whom existing therapies aren't lasting, particularly in patients with relapsed T cell ALL," Graham says.

Second, he points out that a quarter of pediatric ALL patients who respond to existing chemotherapies do so at the price of significant long-term side-effects. "And so in addition to increased survival, the second goal of targeted therapies is decreased side-effects," Graham says.

Inhibition of the Mer protein receptor is promising on both accounts.

"Not only do B-cell and T-cell leukemia cells die when you knock down Mer receptor expression, but these cells are also much more sensitive to existing chemotherapies. By hitting Mer, we're making the chemotherapy more effective," Graham says.

In ALL and AML, Graham's studies show that making Mer inhibition means that less chemotherapy may have equal or stronger effect. Strong preliminary evidence shows that Mer may be the key to less toxic, more effective therapies for leukemia.


Contact: Garth Sundem
University of Colorado Denver

Related biology news :

1. Temple researchers discover key to heart failure, new therapies on horizon
2. 11th International Congress on Targeted Anticancer Therapies
3. Stem cell breakthrough could lead to new bone repair therapies on nanoscale surfaces
4. Penn Vet study reveals a promising new target for Parkinsons disease therapies
5. Promising new finding for therapies to treat persistent seizures in epileptic patients
6. Researchers discover genetic basis for eczema, new avenue to therapies
7. New technique could make cell-based immune therapies for cancer safer and more effective
8. BioLife Solutions Products Now Used in More than 50 Clinical Trial-Stage Cellular Therapies
9. Flu antibody’s one-handed grab may boost effort toward universal vaccine, new therapies
10. Therapies for spinal cord injury: On the cutting edge of clinical translation
11. Aging kidneys may hold key to new high blood pressure therapies
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... Elevay is currently known as ... for high net worth professionals seeking travel for work ... world, there is still no substitute for a face-to-face ... your deal with a firm handshake. This is why ... of citizenship via investment programs like those offered by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition ... harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams ... New York City . The ... projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong ... senior curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , ... Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: