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Choosing the most effective cure for chronic myeloid leukemia

Author: Zhang Qing
by Zhang Qing
Posted: Aug 30, 2014

Recent research, published in the journal Cancer Cell, reports that scientists have identified and characterized mutated versions of the genes that encoding BCR-ABL, the unregulated enzyme driving the blood cancer chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), targeted on BCR-ABL, are already in use, and are effective at controlling the disease. They do not cure CML but control it in a way that allows patients to get back to normal life and a normal expected lifespan. Before the arrival of TKIs, the 5-year survival rate for CML was 30% at best; now that figure is above 95%.

As indicated in trials, most cases of CML resistance are derived from a single mutation in BCR-ABL, and drugs to control resistance to TKI treatment caused by various single mutations have already been discovered. But BCR-ABL compound mutants that contain 2 mutations in the same molecule make some or all of the available TKIs ineffective.

The research team focused on BCR-ABL compound mutants observed in patients and tested them against all approved TKIs, creating a dataset that can potentially help clinicians decide which drug will be most effective for each mutation combination. They found that none of the TKIs are effective for some compound mutations, indicating the need for further research to accommodate the increasing population of CML patients.

Scientists sequenced about 100 clinical samples, which rendered a large body of data to shed light on the number of compound mutations and how they develop. One key finding was that compound mutations containing an already known mutation called T315I tend to confer complete resistance to all available TKIs.

Tiny robots, patrolling human body, search for malignant tumors and destroy them from within. It shows the prospect of being a realistic scenario, rather than a science fiction. What happens in biomedical industry is that a multi-purpose anti-tumour nanoparticle called "nanoporphyrin" is being developed to help diagnose and treat cancers.

Armed with anti-tumour drugs

The armed nano-robot particles can target and deliver the drug into tumour tissue, when a tumour-recognition module is installed in a delivery nano-robot (organic particle). They kill only those cells, while being harmless to surrounding healthy cells and tissues.

If a tumour-recognition module is installed in a probe nano-robot (inorganic particle), the armed nano-robot particles can get into tumour tissue and activate a measurable signal to help doctors better diagnose tumours.

It has been a huge challenge to integrate these functions on the one nanoparticle. It’s difficult to combine the imaging functions and light-absorbing ability for phototherapy in organic nanoparticles as drug carriers. This has, until now, hampered development of smart and versatile "all-in one" organic nanoparticles for tumour diagnosis and treatment.

About the Author

Numerologist Warda is hooked on OG-L002 fishing, collecting. And lastly her encouragement comes from socializing along with her companions.

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Author: Zhang Qing

Zhang Qing

Member since: Oct 30, 2013
Published articles: 172

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