Origins of Lymphoma Unmasked

The first step on the path towards developing lymphoma happens in the blood cells when, at certain points in the chromosomes, breaks appear. It's a phenomenon known as a translocation, and the chromosomal fragments created by the break reassemble. No one can say why this occurs and no one knows how to prevent it from happening.

In the most recent issue of the journal Molecular Cell, researchers from the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine report that they have uncovered a key mechanism that leads to those breaks.

According to the authors, "The new findings go to the heart of why cancers begin. This is an opportunity to see the very beginning step of human lymphoma. With this information, we can now begin to look at ways to interfere with this process in order to stop the lymphoma and to develop more targeted therapies for treatment."

This study examined T cell lymphomas; back in December these same researchers took a similar look at B cell lymphomas.

For many years now, USC's Keck School of Medicine has been one of the leading research facilities in the search for what causes lymphomas and leukemias. This most recent study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

For the record, the text of the published study, found HERE, qualifies for the most complex and unintelligible English language document I have ever examined.

Thank god for plain language press releases.

Noriko Shimazaki, Albert G. Tsai and Michael R. Lieber. "H3K4me3 Stimulates the V(D)J Rag Complex for Both Nicking and Hairpinning in trans in Addition to Tethering in cis: Implications for Translocations." Molecular Cell. June 12, 2009. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.05.011.

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