Finding and targeting a tumor’s sweet spot to eradicate aggressive form of leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia has very poor outcomes due to high relapse rates among those who go into remission, making it important to identify potential targets for new treatments. Researchers from the University of Birmingham, Newcastle University, the Princess Maxima Center of Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, and the University of Virginia have identified a highly specific gene regulatory network connected to FLT3-ITD AML cells. This network can be manipulated to kill off leukemia cells. They found that RUNX1, a transcription factor, is key to maintaining the gene regulatory network in AML. Potential new treatments could come from blocking the RUNX1 protein using a small molecule inhibitor, which causes the network that maintains the cancer to collapse.

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