Gene mutations of acute lymphoblastic leukemia T-cell

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gene mutations of acute lymphoblastic leukemia T-cell

Portuguese researchers identify gene mutations that trigger acute lymphoblastic leukemia T-cell cancer of the blood is an especially common in children that is characterized by an uncontrolled increase in the number of T lymphocytes (white blood cells).

Had met several molecular mechanisms related to the onset of these leukemias, that result from mutations in different genes involved in processes of growth and differentiation of T cells

However, a study published in early September 2011 in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics, carried out by a group of researchers from the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) in Lisbon, now reveal the molecular mechanism involved in the onset of acute lymphoblastic leukemia T cells in some patients. The study also shows that there is a group of drugs that may act against the development of such tumors, opening new prospects for future therapy.

Identifying and understanding the effect of each mutation found in patients with leukemia helps to develop effective therapies targeted specifically to each subtype of tumor, depending, however, changes associated with it. In the study now published in Nature Genetics, the researchers did was to identify a set of previously unknown mutations (and which appear in about 9% of leukemia patients studied) and show that these mutations may be causing the same type of tumors.

The researchers went further and also identified a set of drugs that can be effective in eliminating the effect of these mutations leading to cell death that have them, which gives a potential future therapeutic application of this discovery. Mutations occur now identified a gene that codes for a protein that is located on the surface of T cells, called interleukin-7 receptor.

This protein is distributed along the cell surface and contact with both the exterior and the interior, thus providing a link passage of chemical information from outside to inside the cell. This transfer of information occurs when another protein, which circulates in the bloodstream and is called interleukin-7, binds to the receptor on the surface of T cells

The binding of interleukin 7 to its receptor triggers a series of reactions inside the cell that are, under physiological conditions, essential for normal development and proliferation of T cells The researchers have now discovered that cancer cells of some pediatric patients with leukemia containing the mutated receptor and that mutation of the receptor causes it to fail to require the foreign intelligence (the binding of interleukin 7) to promote cell multiplication.

As a result, T cells multiply uncontrollably, causing a tumor, the authors found in this study. This research, conducted in the laboratory from samples of patients, was coordinated and developed in Portugal in Cancer Biology Unit at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, led by John T. Roach, in collaboration with teams based in various countries, including a Centro Infantil Boldrini in Campinas, Sao Paulo (Brazil) and another from the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland (USA).