Currently, leukemia is the most common childhood and adolescent cancer in the world, affecting thousands around the world.
Leukemia is a devastating malignant and progressive disease when bone marrow and other hematopoietic organs produce more immature or abnormal leukocytes, leading to the suppression of white blood cells.
The sad reality with leukemia is that there is really nothing you can do to prevent the disease. This cancer of your blood cells is killing hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
"These white blood cells infiltrate many of the tissues and organs of those affected and are a major cause of death in leukemia patients," said Ali Shilatifard, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Pediatrics of Robert Francis Furchgott.
] "This is a monster crab with which we have been struggling with children for many years."
Recently, researchers from Northwestern University have discovered two successful therapies that slow down the progression of pediatric leukemia and open the door to the potential creation of a super-drug that could be used to fight the disease in the years to come.
The fight against MLL
Unfortunately, children who have been diagnosed with MLL translocation leukemia have only one Survival rate of about 30% . The two-year, Northwestern Medicine, three-part study aims to reduce the mortality rate of the disease by attacking the key protein responsible for leukemia.
Published in the journal Cell, researchers from the northwestern US have discovered that stabilizing the key protein of MLL can slow the spread of the disease in the affected body. As mentioned above, there are different types of leukemia.
However, for the Northwestern Medicine study, researchers focused on the two most commonly found in infants by adolescents: acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
The research itself builds on previously published reports in which Shilatifard and her team have identified substances that can slow down cancer growth by disrupting a gene transcription process known as the "Super Elongation Complex" Illness that is revolutionizing the treatment of solid tumors such as breast cancer or prostate cancer.
"This opens a new therapeutic approach not only for leukemia, which is so important for the many children suffering from this terrible cancer, but also for other cancers that afflict the population," says lead author Zibo Zhao, a postdoctoral fellow in Shilatifard's lab.
Medical research like this one is hugely promising and could be used to save the lives of millions of children in the near future.