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Study reveals origins of a cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow
Date:5/12/2011

of this pathway function in unexpected ways to produce disease. Notch is named for a particular kind of mutation, first identified almost 100 years ago, that gives fruit flies notched wings.

The study evaluated mutations in the Notch pathway in mice models of the disease, and also in blood samples from patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. Researchers identified several mutations that inactivated or silenced the pathway, leading to the accelerated accumulation of abnormal blood cells. Most importantly, the study also revealed that the reactivation of the silenced genes in the pathway blocked the disease, providing additional support for the potentially crucial role that Notch might play in the development of cancer.

In a commentary accompanying the study in Nature, Demetrios Kalaitzidis and Scott A. Armstrong of Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston, note that the study defines a new role for Notch signaling as a suppressor of leukemia development. They note that further research is needed to understand the intricacies of Notch signaling in normal and cancerous tissue, which will help determine "the best approaches to manipulating this pathway for optimal therapauetic response."


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Contact: Lauren Woods
lauren.woods@nyumc.org
212-404-3753
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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