2019 March 18

The Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Research Group identifies microRNA signatures in cells that could give rise to leukemia with the idea to use it to target therapies

Eulàlia Genescà, Josep Maria Ribera and Javad Behravan from the Mashhad Universityhave published a paper in Molecular Biology Reports in which they describe work to further identify cells resistant to treatments in acute lymphoblastic leukemia in patients positive for Philadelphia chromosome.

Eulàlia Genescà, Josep Maria Ribera and Javad Behravan from the Mashhad Universityhave published a paper in Molecular Biology Reports in which they describe work to further identify cells resistant to treatments in acute lymphoblastic leukemia in patients positive for Philadelphia chromosome.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) occurs when cells that should produce normal blood cells in the bone marrow start to multiply uncontrollably.  The most frequent type of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL, which accounts for 15-30% of patients.  Although they often respond to initial treatments, patients frequently relapse and this group has a very poor prognostic.

The work carried out in conjunction with a group in Iran identified a molecular signature on two types of cells that can give rise to cancer; cells called leukemia stem cells and leukemia progenitors.  The signatures are small molecule of micro-RNA (miRNA), known to be involved in the capacities of these cells to form clones, become resistant or continue multiplying uncontrollably. Identifying these cells in a blood sample from their associated miRNAs would be the start of a way to improve leukemia treatments by making them more sensitive to drugs or eliminating them directly. “We will continue this line of research,” says Eulàlia Genescà, “We think the study of miRNAs in leukemia cells is a promising avenue to pursue to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatments for the disease.”

Original Paper

Mol Biol Rep. 2019 Feb 2. doi: 10.1007/s11033-019-04600-5. [Epub ahead of print]
Genome-wide identification of microRNA signatures associated with stem (progenitor cells in Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Ehsan Valiollahi, Josep Maria Ribera, Eulàlia Genescà, Javad Behravan