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Researchers identify a 'life-and-death' molecule on chronic leukemia cells
Date:5/30/2012

simultaneously blocking the cell-survival region of the molecule with a second antibody," he says.

Byrd notes that drugs that can block the cell-survival pathway already exist.

"We were very surprised and excited to find that CD37 is directly involved in regulating survival and cell-death pathways," says first author Rosa Lapalombella, a research scientist in Byrd's laboratory. "That's not usually the case for molecules of this kind."

Co-principal investigator Dr. Natarajan Muthusamy, associate professor of Medicine, notes that CD37 belongs to a family of molecules called tetraspanins, which usually only facilitate signaling by bringing together other molecules that when combined issue signals.

"This work is a great example of collaborative research involving several laboratories," says researcher and co-principal investigator Dr. Michael Freitas, associate professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, whose laboratory contributed to the global proteomic work of how CD37 signals. "The support for, and emphasis on, team science is a major driving strength of Ohio State and contributed to this project's findings," he says.

Byrd hopes to begin a clinical trial soon that tests SMIP-016 combined with a drug that blocks the survival pathway.

"Overall, these findings reinforce our belief SMIP-016 could be an effective agent for treating CLL and other malignancies that sometimes express the CD37 protein, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia," says Byrd, who is the D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research.


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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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