Groundbreaking research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center could provide more answers about leukemia and other forms of cancer. Dr. Hamid Band is a professor and associate director of translational research at UNMC’s Eppley Cancer Center and says they have engineered a mouse model that will allow scientists to better study the origin and regulation of cancer stem cells in leukemia.
“And that leads to a particular form of leukemia. What we were able to do is by removing this gene from the make-up of a mouse, we would be able to recapitulate a disease that essentially resembles what a human patient suffers from which gives a model to study the basis of the disease of how hit works and how it happens and that would potentially help us develop therapies against this form of leukemia in patients.”
Recent studies show that mutations in certain genes cause human leukemia where a child inherits a defective gene from an apparently healthy parent. They are trying to figure out this gene defect produces leukemia.
“The findings from our study show it affects a particular type of blood cell which is basically the mother cell.”
Dr. Band says with this new model, researchers will be able to shed light on other cancers as well as leukemia.
“The mother cells, or stem cells, are considered the origin of all human cancers and allows us to do basic studies to try to understand how these cells can be made to become cancerous and that gives us tremendous tools to address fundamental questions related to many other cancers that are very highly prevalent.”
Dr. Band has been studying the certain gene since the 1990’s. Their goal is to discover agents to treat cancer patients with these certain genes.