A Cambridge University research team – which includes a Cypriot scientist – has identified genetic vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) which they believe could be exploited to prevent the disease from spreading within a patient’s body.
AML is an aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis, for which mainstream treatments have not changed for decades but Cypriot team member George S. Vassiliou (In the picture) and his colleagues are hopeful their research will lead to more effective therapies.
According to the team’s report which was published this month in the international experimental biology journal ‘Cell,’ the team have provided data proposing the KAT2A gene as the best potential therapeutic target – having previously identified several known therapeutic targets and numerous additional candidates.
Their research showed that even when all the AML cells within the KAT2A gene were destroyed, the rest of the gene remained healthy.
According to the Cell report: “KAT2A inhibition demonstrated anti-AML activity by inducing myeloid differentiation and apoptosis, and suppressed the growth of primary human AMLs of diverse genotypes while sparing normal hemopoietic stem-progenitor cells.
Our results propose that KAT2A inhibition should be investigated as a therapeutic strategy in AML and provide a large number of genetic vulnerabilities of this leukaemia that can be pursued in downstream studies”.