Washington [US], June 20 (ANI): According to the findings of a study at the University of Tampere, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children. The T-ALL form of leukemia arising from early T-line cells has a worse prognosis than B-line ALL. The prognosis for recurrent T-ALL is very poor and new therapies are desperately needed. Medical researchers have discovered a new combination of drugs that is effective against T-ALL.
The finding is based on an earlier discovery made by the Tampere University research group, where the general tyrosine kinase inhibitor dasatinib was shown to be effective in about a third of the patient samples tested.
When treating leukemia, the efficacy of a single drug is usually quickly lost, so the new study looked for drug combinations that would have an enhanced synergistic effect with dasatinib. This was the case with temsirolimus, a drug that inhibits a parallel signaling pathway. The combination of the two drugs was more effective at eradicating leukemia cells in zebrafish and human disease than using a single drug.
“During this study, we developed a new drug screening method for the rapid assessment of drug responses in zebrafish leukemia samples. In this screen, an effective drug combination was found, which was later confirmed by various cell line models, patient samples and human leukemias grown in mice” , says PhD Saara Laukkanen, the study’s lead author.
“This has been a long project, lasting 4-5 years, and as a result, we now understand the mechanism of action of these drugs at the molecular level in T-ALL,” Laukkanen added.
During the project, she spent six months as a visiting researcher in the Department of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with the research group of Professor David Langenau, with whom the project was conducted. She collaborated extensively with PhD Alexandra Veloso, a research associate on the Langenau team and co-lead author on the work.
“This is a promising new treatment option for T-acute leukemia. The next step is to bring the discovery into clinical practice for patients with relapsed or refractory disease through early-stage clinical trials,” said research director Olli Lohi, MD, PhD, of Tampere University and Tays Hospital Cancer Center.
“The development of precision treatments is slow and requires precise knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that cause and maintain disease. Here we used a specific dependence of T-ALL cells on certain signaling pathways that turns off the combination of dasatinib and temsirolimus,” says Lohi.
The study is published in Blood. In addition to researchers from Tampere University and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, researchers from the universities of North Carolina, Eastern Finland and Helsinki also participated in the study. (ANI)
This report is automatically generated by the ANI news service. ThePrint is not responsible for its content.