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Crucial factors in lymphoma development and survival discovered
Date:6/23/2008

Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center have discovered an important factor in the development of B-cell lymphomas, one of the fastest growing forms of cancer. The B-cell receptor on the surface of B cells can cooperate with the MYC oncogene to accelerate the development of lymphomas. The research team, led by Yosef Refaeli, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Medical and Research Center , also showed that disruption of signals from the B-cell receptor can inhibit growth of the tumors. The research is being published in the June 24 issue of the journal, PLos Biology.

"Non-hodgkins lymphomas, about 90 percent of which are B-cell lymphomas, have become 85 percent more prevalent in the past 20 years, the only major form of cancer to experience such growth" said Dr. Refaeli. "Our findings have pointed to the B-cell receptor and its signaling pathways as very promising therapeutic targets for B-cell lymphomas."

Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is a cancer of lymphocytes, immune system cells known as T cells and B cells. About 66,000 new cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma are diagnosed each year in the United States , and about 19,000 people die of it.

It has long been known that the oncogene MYC plays a crucial role in the development of lymphomas. One unanswered question, however, is whether the B-cell receptor on the surface of B cells, may also play an important role.

When the B-cell receptor binds to molecules on foreign invaders, known as antigens, it sends a signal that causes the B cells to proliferate and produce antibodies. The antibodies bind to the foreign molecules and mark the invaders for destruction. Even if it doesn't bind to an antigen, the B-cell receptor promotes the survival of B cells through an unknown intracellular signal.

Dr. Refaeli and his colleagues at National Jewish and the University of California , San Fransisco developed a series of transgenic mice to evalua
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Contact: Adam Dormuth
dormutha@njc.org
303-398-1082
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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