Leukaemia Foundation welcomes discovery that lymphoma cells can be killed by disabling the MYC protein
Wednesday, 02 April 2014
The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes the announcement today from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of a promising new strategy for treating cancers, including lymphoma.
The research focused on a cancer-causing protein called MYC, which is present at unusually high levels in up to 70% of human cancers, including many leukaemias and lymphomas. The protein causes cancerous changes in cells by forcing them into abnormally rapid growth.
“We have discovered that lymphoma cells with high levels of MYC can be killed by disabling a protein called MCL-1”, said Dr Gemma Kelly of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Molecular Genetics of Cancer division.
“Excitingly, when compared with healthy cells, the lymphoma cells were considerably more sensitive to a reduction in MCL-1 function. This suggests that in the future medicines that block MCL-1 could be effective in treating cancers expressing high levels of MYC with tolerable side-effects on the body’s normal cells,” she said.
As part of its National Research Program, the Foundation awarded a Grant-in-Aid in 2012 to Dr Marco Herold and Professor Andreas Strasser who are leaders of the research team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute along with Dr Gemma Kelly.
The Foundation identified this research project as having the potential to have a significant impact on the future treatment of blood cancers and is pleased to have supported the work of the research team.
With more than 4300 Australians diagnosed each year with a type of lymphoma and as our nation’s sixth most common cancer, this announcement will be welcome news in thousands of Australian households today.
Recipients of the Foundation’s 2014 round of research funding will be announced later this month.
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