Monday, 10 September 2007

St. Jude finds factors that indicate resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

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Results of a study at St. Jude show why imatinib (Gleevec) is unable to prevent the relapse of an aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Imatinib has improved the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) dramatically.

CML and an aggressive form of ALL share the same mutation, the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph). Ph-postiive cells produce a growth-promoting enzyme BCR-ABL. However, in some aggressive cases of ALL, Ph-positive cells lack a tumor suppressor gene called Arf, which is present in CML cells, say the researchers.

The paper's first author, Richard T. Williams, says that doctors might be able to identify those people with ALL who lack Arf.

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