Cincinnati Children's Blog

Study Finds Lymphoid Leukemia’s Weak Spot

Discovering what they call the “Achilles heel” for lymphoid leukemia, an international study has tested a possible alternative treatment that eradicated the disease in mouse models.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s and the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal said the targeted molecular therapy used in the study could have direct implications for current treatment of acute lymphoid leukemia in people. The study found that leukemic cells depend on a protein called Gfi1 for survival. Removing the protein in mouse models of the disease weakened and killed the leukemia cells. Researchers said this should make the leukemia more susceptible to chemo and radiation therapies.

“Chemo and radiation therapies are very nonspecific and can be toxic to patients. Our findings suggest that combining the inhibition of Gfi1 with these treatments may allow the use of lower cytotoxic doses and directly benefit patients,” said H. Leighton Grimes, PhD, co-senior investigator on the study and researcher in the divisions of Cellular and Molecular Immunology and Experimental Hematology at Cincinnati Children’s.

Read more about the study.

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