Researchers at Boston University have shown that T-cell leukemia cells use a particular cycle, called the TCA or Kreb cycle, to support their growth and survival.
The findings which appear in the journal Leukemia, may lead to the development of therapeutics to effectively kill these types of tumor cells by targeting a critical enzyme called DLST that exists in the TCA cycle.
Despite improvement of T-cell leukemia treatment, this disease is fatal in more than 20% of children and 50% of adult cases. Additionally, current treatment protocols are highly toxic.
Using an experimental model, BUSM ( Boston University School of Medicine ) researchers performed genetic screenings to identify mutations that can specifically suppress tumor development.
The screening led to the identification of the TCA cycle enzyme DLST as an important contributor to T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia development.
Further analysis using human T-cell leukemia cells demonstrated that inhibiting the DLST enzyme activity could effectively kill human T-cell leukemia cells.
These findings provide solid evidence that leukemia cells depend on the TCA cycle for their survival. Additionally researchers have demonstrated the importance of DLST in T-cell leukemia development, and have identified a targetable enzyme for T-cell leukemia treatment.
The researchers believe the therapeutic benefit of DLST inhibition may extend to cancers other than T-cell leukemia. ( Xagena )
Source: Boston University, 2016