New potential drug targets for acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) are reported in a paper published online in Nature Chemical Biology.
Even with aggressive treatment, AML typically recurs within two years, because leukemic stem cells are thought to be resistant to the drugs used to treat the disease. It may therefore be necessary to design drugs targeting these stem cells specifically and then combine them with current treatments.
Randall Petersen and colleagues identified drug leads for modulating these leukemic stem cells by high-throughput screening of chemical libraries in zebrafish. The authors discovered that a known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug could block the effect of a cancer causing gene on stem cell differentiation.
The results identify a pathway in AML stem cells that might lead to new targets for developing AML therapies. The research also demonstrates the potential of zebrafish for identifying drug leads for complex diseases.
Randall T. Peterson (Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Chemical Biology press release.
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