Study finds new ideas for leukemia treatment

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A new study from McMaster University in Canada said that it has discovered a new treatment strategy for acute myeloid leukemia. By stimulating the production of fat cells in the bone marrow and adjusting the bone marrow microenvironment, it can inhibit leukemia cells and stimulate normal blood cell production. This difference is The indirect treatment strategy of the current standard treatment seems to have advantages, not only the outside but also the inside. (Nat Cell Biol. 2017; 19: 1336-1347. Doi: 10.1038 / ncb3625.)

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by the generation of heterogeneous leukemia cells. Patients suffer from severe infection and anemia due to insufficient production of normal red blood cells. Conventional standard treatment is focused on killing leukemia cells with firepower, ignoring the production of healthy red blood cells.

Based on the observation of leukemia patients, the researchers collected a large number of bone marrow samples from leukemia patients for research, compared and imaged healthy cells in the bone marrow and leukemia cells, and discovered this effect of fat cells. Through in vitro cell culture and transplantation tumor model experiments, the researchers found that acute myeloid leukemia cells specifically destroyed the  microenvironment of fat cells in the bone marrow, resulting in an unbalanced regulation of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells and curbing the production of normal blood cells in the bone marrow.

The study revealed for the first time this relationship between the generation of adipocytes in the bone marrow and normal bone marrow erythrocytes. This effect is not only due to the hematopoietic microenvironment of the bone marrow, that is, the niche is crowded, but also the role of adipocytes in the differentiation process. The limiting effect of leukemia cells. This discovery provides new treatment ideas for myeloid leukemia and is expected to improve the symptoms of failure in patients with myeloid leukemia.

Supported by a drug that promotes the production of fat cells, the fat cells in the bone marrow successfully squeezed away the leukemia cells, making room for healthy blood cell production and clearing the portal. In vitro experiments, PPARγ inhibitors can induce the generation of bone marrow adipocytes. By changing the bone marrow microenvironment, it provides vitality for healthy blood cell production and at the same time inhibits the formation of leukemia cells, which may provide a new way of indirect treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. This indirect treatment strategy should be more promising than standard treatments, which have not made much progress over the past few decades.

The researchers pointed out that the focus of the existing standard treatment is to kill tumor cells, change the way of thinking, and adopt different strategies to change the survival environment of cancer cells to achieve therapeutic effects. While suppressing cancer cells, it strengthens healthy cells so that they can regenerate in a new environment induced by drugs. 

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