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New finding inhibits growth of leukaemia cells

Leukaemia, or cancer of the blood, manifests itself as an unrestricted growth of white corpuscles at the partial expense of red corpuscles. Researchers at Linköping University (LiU) have now discovered a new possibility of blocking this growth and, thereby in the long run, preventing the development of the cancer.

The form of cancer that the research team, under Professor Anders Rosén, has been studying is called chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most common among adults in the West. In an article in the biochemistry journal Antioxidant and Redox Signaling they describe a previously unknown mechanism that regulates the signalling molecule TNF, which normally contributes to cell death, but which with CLL stimulates the growth of leukaemia cells.

TNF works by binding two different receptor molecules, which are flexible in their three-dimensional biochemical architecture. The research team discovered that TNF receptors have two enzymes, which normally function as antioxidants, closely bound to them on the cell surface.

They discovered that these two enzymes occurred in great numbers on leukaemia cells, but only in small quantities on normal cells. By introducing substances that block this enzyme activity, it was possible to stop the increased growth of diseased cells. This discovery may be important in the future design of new treatments of leukaemia and other conditions caused by increased TNF production.

Article: A protein disulfide isomerase/thioredoxin-1 complex is physically attached to exofacial membrane tumour necrosis factor receptors: overexpression in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells by Anita Söderberg, Akter Hossain and Anders Rosen. Antioxidant and Redox Signaling 2012 (e-published ahead of print).

Professor Anders Rosén, +46 (0) 10-103 27 94

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Åke Hjelm Fri Nov 09 11:08:00 CET 2012

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