New Research Seeks to Limit MYC Role in B-Cell Lymphomas

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According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists may have uncovered a previously unknown cell signalling pathway in B-cell lymphoma that could be exploited as an effective treatment path.

The lead author of the study is Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko, Ph.D., an oncology researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The discovery is in regards to a familiar family of oncogenes in B-cell lymphoma, known as MYC. MYC codes for myc, a protein that at very high levels kick-starts unceasing cell proliferation.

These researchers looked for proteins on the cell surface and looked at one known as CD19, which is present on the surface of all cells and that is good at recognizing foreign invaders. CD19 is required to stabilize the myc protein, and when stable and found at high levels, it causes cancer. Furthermore, high levels of the Myc protein tend to result in poorer patient outcomes.

Normally when you inhibit one signaling pathway, the cell finds another path, but with CD19 that isn't the case. If you inhibit the CD19 pathway, you can inhibit the levels of the Myc protein.

However, broad-based antibodies that sweep through and kill all cells with certain cell surface receptors are compromising patient immune systems. Thomas-Tikhonenko thinks that the absence of a newly developed pathway for CD19 suggests that specific therapies could exploit this pathway and be much more selective about the cells that are killed, thereby potentially making treatments safer and with fewer side effects.

Source: Medical News Today

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