MD Anderson Research Highlights for June 16, 2021
HOUSTON? Research Highlights from the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas provide an overview of recently published studies on basic, translational and clinical cancer research by experts at MD Anderson. Current advances include a new combination therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a better understanding of the conditions persisting after remission of AML, the discovery of a universal biomarker for exosomes, the identification of a suppressor gene for tumor in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and characterization of a novel target for treating Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infections.
Use of combination therapy for AML
While a majority of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) respond favorably to initial treatment, many will experience a subsequent relapse. Once relapse occurs, results are poor and new treatment options are needed. A study by Courtney DiNardo, MD, and Hagop Kantarjian, MD, found that an intensive treatment regimen of fludarabine, cytarabine, granulocyte colony stimulating factor and idarubicin (FLAG-IDA) combined with l An inhibitor of B-cell lymphoma 2, venetoclax is effective in both relapsed / refractory patients and in newly diagnosed patients with AML. In the study group, anticipated and manageable side effects included chemotherapy-induced cytopenias and neutropenic infections. The combination therapy produced deep remissions and helped patients move on to successful stem cell transplants. Find out more in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Review of clinical findings of post-remission clonal AML hematopoiesis
Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) is a condition that develops when a hematopoietic stem cell, which is a stem cell that typically develops into various types of blood cells, makes cells that all have the same genetic mutation instead. HC can lead to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and it can persist after patients go into remission. A study led by Tomoyuki Tanaka, MD, Ph.D, Kiyomi Morita, MD, Ph.D., and Koichi Takahashi, MD, Ph.D., examined 164 cases of AML and found that post-remission CH s ‘occurred in about half of the patients but had little impact on their risk of relapse, their mortality without relapse, or their risk of cardiovascular disease. The results suggest that although CH after AML remission is resistant to treatment, it does not generally adversely affect clinical outcomes. Find out more in Some blood.
Discovery of a universal biomarker for exosomes
Exosomes are virus-sized particles bound to the membrane, released by all cells, and believed to carry information important for cell-cell communication. Exosomes are produced at high levels by cancer cells and contain DNA, RNA, and proteins that may be useful for cancer screening, diagnosis, and monitoring response to treatment. A new study led by Fernanda G. Kugeratski, Ph.D., and Raghu Kalluri, MD, Ph.D., found that exosomes contain a central proteome of about 1,200 proteins common to exosomes of all cells. The researchers also found that syntenin-1 is the most abundant protein in all exosomes, making it a potential universal marker for exosomes. Such a protein marker facilitates the isolation and study of exosomes to clarify their function and to develop approaches for the use of exosomes in the clinic. Learn more in Nature Cell Biology.
Immune-activated tumor suppressor for the treatment of HCC Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and more research is needed to fully understand the biology of this disease in order to develop an effective treatment. A research team led by Shulin Li, Ph.D., discovered that WSX1 acts as an “immune” tumor suppressor gene in HCC, effectively down-regulating neoplastic PD-L1 expression in abnormal or abnormal hepatocytes. HCC cells to strengthen immune surveillance. Suppression of PD-L1 in CHCs by WSX1 occurs through the destabilization of a new AKT protein subtype. This result has led to the discovery of a new target for cancer immunotherapies to treat HCC. Find out more in Nature Communication.
Characterization of a new target for the treatment of C. difficile infections
Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections in the United States, and more effective therapeutic interventions are needed. The recently discovered CamA enzyme, which appears to be specific for C. difficile, catalyzes DNA methylation and is essential for spore formation and biofilm production, making it an attractive therapeutic target. A research team led by Jujun Zhou, Ph.D .; John R. Horton, Ph.D .; Xing Zhang, Ph.D.; and Xiaodong Cheng, Ph.D., performed an in-depth enzymatic and structural analysis of CamA to learn how it interacts with DNA to fulfill its role. Their DNA-bound CamA crystal structure provides the necessary roadmap for drug development to block protein activity. Find out more in Nature Communication.
In case you missed it
Read below to stay up to date on recent MD Anderson press releases across the spectrum of cancer research.
- Targeted Combination Therapy Provides Long-Lasting Remission in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Targeted therapy Pralsetinib safely and effectively treats lung and thyroid cancers with alterations in RET
- Newly Approved Targeted Therapy Sotorasib Extends Survival in KRAS G12C Mutated Lung Cancer
- Glioblastoma study discovers protective role of metabolic enzyme, revealing new therapeutic target
About MD Anderson
The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas at Houston is one of the world’s most respected centers focused on cancer care, research, education and prevention. The institution’s sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of 51 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked # 1 for cancer care in US News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey. It has ranked among the top two hospitals in the country for cancer care since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked top 15 in the past 18 years. MD Anderson receives National Institutes of Health NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA016672).
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