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Research in to the basic, epidemiological, preventive, clinical and translational aspects of leukaemia and other hematologic malignancies

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News

2021 January 11

The INTERCEPT-MDS PhD fellowships to train Europe’s first experts in the emerging field of disease interception are open for applications.

Three of the twelve positions at the forefront of research into myeloid diseases will be based at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute as part of the Innovative Training Network (ITN) entitled INTERCEPT-MDS. The Josep Carreras Institute coordinates this Marie Skłodowska Curie Action funded by the European Commission under the H2020 framework.

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Recent publications

Antonio Garcia-Gomez, Tianlu Li, Carlos de la Calle-Fabregat, Javier Rodríguez-Ubreva, Laura Ciudad, Francesc Català-Moll, Gerard Godoy-Tena, Montserrat Martín-Sánchez, Laura San-Segundo, Sandra Muntión, Xabier Morales, Carlos Ortiz-de-Solórzano, Julen Oyarzabal, Edurne San José-Enériz, Manel Esteller, Xabier Agirre, Felipe Prosper, Mercedes Garayoa, Esteban Ballestar

Targeting aberrant DNA methylation in mesenchymal stromal cells as a treatment for myeloma bone disease

Nat Commun 12, 421 (2021) 18 Jan 2021, .
Multiple myeloma (MM) progression and myeloma-associated bone disease (MBD) are highly dependent on bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). MM-MSCs exhibit abnormal transcriptomes, suggesting the involvement of epigenetic mechanisms governing their tumor-promoting functions and prolonged osteoblast suppression. Here, we identify widespread DNA methylation alterations of bone marrow-isolated MSCs from distinct MM stages, particularly in Homeobox genes involved in osteogenic differentiation that associate with their aberrant expression. Moreover, these DNA methylation changes are recapitulated in vitro by exposing MSCs from healthy individuals to MM cells. Pharmacological targeting of DNMTs and G9a with dual inhibitor CM-272 reverts the expression of hypermethylated osteogenic regulators and promotes osteoblast differentiation of myeloma MSCs. Most importantly, CM-272 treatment prevents tumor-associated bone loss and reduces tumor burden in a murine myeloma model. Our results demonstrate that epigenetic aberrancies mediate the impairment of bone formation in MM, and its targeting by CM-272 is able to reverse MBD.
Celia González-Gil, Jordi Ribera, Josep Maria Ribera, Eulàlia Genescà

The Yin and Yang-Like Clinical Implications of the CDKN2A/ARF/CDKN2B Gene Cluster in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Genes 2021, 12, 79. 9 Jan 2021, .
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a malignant clonal expansion of lymphoid hematopoietic precursors that exhibit developmental arrest at varying stages of differentiation. Similar to what occurs in solid cancers, transformation of normal hematopoietic precursors is governed by a multistep oncogenic process that drives initiation, clonal expansion and metastasis. In this process, alterations in genes encoding proteins that govern processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and growth provide us with some of the clearest mechanistic insights into how and why cancer arises. In such a scenario, deletions in the 9p21.3 cluster involving CDKN2A/ARF/CDKN2B genes arise as one of the oncogenic hallmarks of ALL. Deletions in this region are the most frequent structural alteration in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and account for roughly 30% of copy number alterations found in B-cell-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). Here, we review the literature concerning the involvement of the CDKN2A/B genes as a prognosis marker of good or bad response in the two ALL subtypes (BCP-ALL and T-ALL). We compare frequencies observed in studies performed on several ALL cohorts (adult and child), which mainly consider genetic data produced by genomic techniques. We also summarize what we have learned from mouse models designed to evaluate the functional involvement of the gene cluster in ALL development and in relapse/resistance to treatment. Finally, we examine the range of possibilities for targeting the abnormal function of the protein-coding genes of this cluster and their potential to act as anti-leukemic agents in patients.
More information
Voltà-Durán E, Serna N, Sánchez-García L, Aviñó A, Sánchez JM, López-Laguna H, Cano-Garrido O, Casanova I, Mangues R, Eritja R, Vázquez E, Villaverde A, Unzueta U.

Design and engineering of tumor-targeted, dual-acting cytotoxic nanoparticles

Acta Biomater. 2021 Jan 1;119:312-322. 1 Jan 2021, .
The possibility to conjugate tumor-targeted cytotoxic nanoparticles and conventional antitumoral drugs in single pharmacological entities would open a wide spectrum of opportunities in nanomedical oncology. This principle has been explored here by using CXCR4-targeted self-assembling protein nanoparticles based on two potent microbial toxins, the exotoxin A from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the diphtheria toxin from Corynebacterium diphtheriae, to which oligo-floxuridine and monomethyl auristatin E respectively have been chemically coupled. The resulting multifunctional hybrid nanoconjugates, with a hydrodynamic size of around 50 nm, are stable and internalize target cells with a biological impact. Although the chemical conjugation minimizes the cytotoxic activity of the protein partner in the complexes, the concept of drug combination proposed here is fully feasible and highly promising when considering multiple drug treatments aimed to higher effectiveness or when facing the therapy of cancers with acquired resistance to classical drugs.
More information
Carrato C, Alameda F, Esteve-Codina A, Pineda E, Arpí O, Martinez-García M, Mallo M, Gut M, Lopez-Martos R, Barco SD, Ribalta T, Capellades J, Puig J, Gallego O, Mesia C, Muñoz-Marmol AM, Archilla I, Arumí M, Blanc JM, Bellosillo B, Menendez S, Esteve A, Bagué S, Hernandez A, Craven-Bartle J, Fuentes R, Vidal N, Aldecoa I, Iglesia N, Balana C.

Glioblastoma TCGA Mesenchymal and IGS 23 Tumors are Identifiable by IHC and have an Immune-phenotype Indicating a Potential Benefit from Immunotherapy

Clin Cancer Res. 2020 Dec 15;26(24):6600-6609. 15 Dec 2020, .
PURPOSE: Molecular subtype classifications in glioblastoma may detect therapy sensitivities. IHC would potentially allow the identification of molecular subtypes in routine clinical practice.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples of 124 uniformly treated, newly diagnosed patients with glioblastoma were submitted to RNA sequencing, IHC, and immune-phenotyping to identify differences in molecular subtypes associated with treatment sensitivities.RESULTS: We detected high molecular and IHC overlapping of the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) mesenchymal subtype with instrinsic glioma subtypes (IGS) cluster 23 and of the TCGA classical subtype with IGS cluster 18. IHC patterns, gene fusion profiles, and immune-phenotypes varied across subtypes. IHC revealed that the TCGA classical subtype was identified by high expression of EGFR and low expression of PTEN, while the mesenchymal subtype was identified by low expression of SOX2 and high expression of two antibodies, SHC1 and TCIRG1, selected on the basis of RNA differential transcriptomic expression. The proneural subtype was identified by frequent positive IDH1 expression and high Olig2 and Ki67 expression. Immune-phenotyping showed that mesenchymal and IGS 23 tumors exhibited a higher positive effector cell score, a higher negative suppressor cell score, and lower levels of immune checkpoint molecules. The cell-type deconvolution analysis revealed that these tumors are highly enriched in M2 macrophages, resting memory CD4+ T cells, and activated dendritic cells, indicating that they may be ideal candidates for immunotherapy, especially with anti-M2 and/or dendritic cell vaccination.CONCLUSIONS: There is a subset of tumors, frequently classified as mesenchymal or IGS cluster 23, that may be identified with IHC and could well be optimal candidates for immunotherapy.
More information
de Barrios O, e Barrios O, Galaras A, Trincado JL, Azagra A, Collazo O, Meler A, Agraz-Doblas A, Bueno C, Ballerini P, Cazzaniga G, Stam RW, Varela I, De Lorenzo P, Valsecchi MG, Hatzis P, Menéndez P, Parra M.

HDAC7 is a major contributor in the pathogenesis of infant t(4;11) proB acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Leukemia, 2020 1 Dec 2020, .
Not abstract available Find out more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41375-020-01097-x

Events

5 March 2021 12:00 - 13:00
Online. Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research and at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Nederland

Organoids to model human disease