JUL 30, 2019 11:39 AM PDT

Treating Drug-Resistant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

New therapeutics may have helped improve survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients but some patients still remain unresponsive to existing treatment regimens. To make matters worse, drug resistance is not the only concern--the risk of drug-related toxicities among patients has pushed researchers to seek safer and effective therapeutics.

Now, scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed a novel combination treatment regimen that enhances immune system function and improve the ability to kill leukemia’s that do not respond to standard protocol treatments. Findings were published in Cancer Immunology Research and describes the use of mouse models to illustrate how an antibody attaches to a specific protein on the cell surface of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells and creates a bridge by attaching to a natural killer that quickly works to eradicate the cancer cell.

"If we started to treat mice with the antibody early during disease development, leukemia was almost eradicated by this treatment method; however, if treatment was administered late when the tumor had grown and established its own microenvironment, the antibody alone was less effective," said Parameswaran, who is also a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and a St. Baldrick's Scholar. "There was a clear negative effect of the tumor microenvironment on natural killer cell killing capacity," Parameswaran said. "So, we added a TGF-beta receptor inhibitor to our antibody treatment regimen."

Watch this video below to learn more on acute lymphoblastic leukemia:

The treatment uses BAFF-R antibody, which attaches to the BAFF-R protein on cancer cells. The antibody is currently being used to treat autoimmune diseases and rheumatoid arthritis in two clinical trial studies.

"We looked at BAFF-R expression in a small group of 16 patients and all of them expressed this receptor. It's promising as a therapeutic avenue for late-stage disease" Parameswaran said. Data from larger patient sets will help us draw a definitive conclusion."

Source: Case Western University

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 18, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 18, 2019
Take TAT, Cancer! Canadian Institutes Join Forces to Develop Targeted Alpha Therapy Agents
Targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) applies radiolabeled biological vectors that can target a specific biomarker and deliver a lethal dose of radiation to...
SEP 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 18, 2019
Medications Used for Atrial fibrillation May Increase Falls
Falls among older adults are a growing health concern that often lead to injury, hospitalization, and other severe complications. Older adults are even at...
SEP 18, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 18, 2019
Stopping Metastasis After Breast Cancer Surgery
Cancer is most deadly when it metastasizes, which can happen after tumor-removal surgery. It's a serious challenge for many patients....
SEP 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 18, 2019
Novel Drug Target for Dilating Microvessels
Medical scientists at Augusta University have discovered a natural occurring chemical that dilates blood vessels dilate as well as signaling larger blood v...
SEP 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 18, 2019
What's the Difference Between Therapy and MDMA Therapy?
From a first glance, MDMA-assisted therapy may look very different from mainstream therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); patients lying on...
SEP 18, 2019
Immunology
SEP 18, 2019
A New Way To Fight Severe Peanut Allergies
Dr. Sandra Lin explains how SLIT is currently being used to treat allergies other than peanuts.    Over 1 million U.S. children have an allergy t...
Loading Comments...