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St. Jude Discovers Factors That Accelerate Resistance to Gleevec(TM) Targeted Therapy in Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Date:8/29/2007

s in the BCR-ABL protein, which prompt imatinib resistance.

A report on these results appears in the September 15 issue of "Genes & Development."

"The findings also imply that doctors might identify patients at high risk of failing this treatment by determining whether their leukemia cells lack the Arf gene," said Richard T. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant member in the St. Jude Department of Oncology and the paper's first author.

This study strongly suggests that a widely held explanation for how leukemias arise is not universally applicable. "This view holds that leukemias arise from rare 'cancer stem cells,' which do not make up the bulk of the tumor, but are the only cells required to regenerate the cancer after treatment," Williams said. "However the new St. Jude study reveals that the combination of BCR-ABL activity and inactivation of Arf are sufficient to generate a uniform population of leukemia-initiating cells -- any one of which can expand and induce rapidly fatal disease."

The other author of the paper was Willem den Besten (St. Jude).

This was supported by funding from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Cancer Center Core Grant and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit http://www.stjude.org.


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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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