Stem cell protein being studied as treatment for blood cancers

May 27, 2019

Researchers in India are looking into stem cell proteins involved in the development of tumors realted to blood cancers, according to a recent study in the Journal of Blood.

Scientists knew that a protein known as p53 suppresses the development of tumors. But just 11% of the cancers that develop in the blood-forming bone marrow have a mutation in the gene that forms p53.

“The mechanism of how these leukemias exist in people with a normal p53 gene is not well defined,” said Scott Jones, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, at BioBridge Global.

So the researchers looked at a protein called Asrij that exists in blood-forming stem cells. They found that Asrtij (which is Sanskrit for “blood”) is abnormally expressed in leukemia and lymphoma, opening the way for destruction of the cancer-fighting p53 protein.

“Mutations in expression of this protein may be part of the cause of these types of cancer in people with normal p53 genes,” Jones said. “This protein could be a possible target for drug intervention, but it is too early to know for sure.”

Highlights of the study were reported in The Economic Times and the International Business Times. The research was done in collaboration with RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, India.

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