Leukemia tumour suppressor gene identified

New York, Sep 25 (IANS) Researchers have identified a gene that can act as a tumour suppressor for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer striking mostly older individuals.

The finding could be important for investigating how best to target treatment of the deadly disease.

Expression of the protein-coding gene hnRNP K is significantly reduced in AML patients who carry a specific genetic deletion, the findings showed.

“Our data implicates hnRNP K in the development of blood disorders and suggests it acts as a tumour suppressor,” said Sean Post, assistant professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre in the US.

“Both in vivo and in vitro results indicate that hnRNP K achieves this through regulation of key genetic pathways. Our study found that hnRNP K expression must be maintained for proper cellular regulation and to prevent tumour formation,” Post said.

Through use of a mouse model and cell lines, Post’s team showed that reduced activity of this gene was associated with blood cancer.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Cell.

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