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Novel drug shuts down master protein key to lymphoma
Date:8/1/2013

NEW YORK (August 1, 2013) -- Researchers have discovered how an experimental drug is capable of completely eradicating human lymphoma in mice after just five doses. The study, led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, sets the stage for testing the drug in clinical trials of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, itself the seventh most frequently diagnosed cancer in the U.S.

In the journal Cell Reports, published today online, the scientists describe how the powerful master regulatory transcription factor Bcl6 regulates the genome, ensuring that aggressive lymphomas survive and thrive. They also show how the Bcl6 inhibitor, developed at Weill Cornell, effectively gums up the protein, stopping it from working.

While Bcl6 is active in a number of cancers, including leukemia and breast cancer, work testing a Bcl6 inhibitor is most advanced in DLBCL. "That's because we desperately need a new strategy to treat this lymphoma -- many patients are resistant to currently available treatments," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Ari Melnick, Gebroe Family Professor of Hematology/Oncology and director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical and Physical Sciences at Weill Cornell.

Dr. Melnick developed the first BCL6 inhibitors nine years ago, and has continued to improve upon the design of these drugs so they could be used to treat cancer patients. He has since collaborated with colleagues at many institutions in a systemic effort to understand how both Bcl6 and its inhibitor drugs function.

In a study published in March in Nature Immunology, Dr. Melnick and his team reported that it is possible to shut down Bcl6 in DLBCL without affecting its vital role in the T cells and macrophages needed to support a healthy immune system. The protein has long been considered too complex to target with a drug as it also is crucial to proper function of many im
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Contact: John Rodgers
jdr2001@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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