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First comprehensive DNA study of mast cell leukemia uncovers clues that could improve therapy
Date:12/16/2011

Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. Cancer researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have carried out the first comprehensive study of the changes seen in the DNA of a patient with mast cell leukemia (MCL), an extremely aggressive subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with a very poor prognosis.

Their genomic survey has helped identify two previously unknown mutations that could directly influence patient response to currently available therapeutic drugs.

The details uncovered by the study not only suggest a diagnostic improvement and an alternative treatment strategy for MCL, but could also serve as a springboard for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for other cancers such as lymphoma.

"This is incredibly exciting because we've gone from knowing very little about the genetics of MCL to uncovering information that could directly benefit patients diagnosed with MCL," says Research Investigator Mona Spector, Ph.D., who led the team's efforts.

The study, which appears online in the journal Leukemia on December 16, is a collaboration between cancer researchers at CSHL and clinicians led by Steven L. Allen, MD, FACP, associate chief of hematology at North Shore-LIJ's Monter Cancer Center and associate investigator at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. "This collaboration between the North Shore-LIJ Health System and CSHL allows us to increase medical knowledge and make innovative discoveries that may lead to new treatments for patients who are living with AML," says Allen.

Made possible in large part by funding from the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation, "the goal of this collaboration was to sequence patient DNA to find information about individual cancers that could be used to improve or design patient-specific treatment strategies," explains CSHL Adjunct Professor and HHMI Investigator Scott Lowe, Ph.D.

In this study, the CSHL scientists used two approaches to identify
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Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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