Potential strategy for treating diffuse large B-cell lymphoma found
(21 November 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Two research teams working independently have identified a potential strategy for treating a form of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common lymphoma in adults. Each group found that blocking a protein called MALT1 resulted in the death of cells from patients with the activated B-cell-like (ABC) type. These patients have poor prognoses, and the findings could point to new treatment strategies, the researchers said.
MALT1 is an enzyme that breaks down proteins in cells (a protease). Previous studies have shown that the enzyme helps to activate a signaling pathway that drives the growth of ABC DLBCL cells, called the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-?B) pathway. The new findings suggest that inhibiting MALT1 switches the pathway off, and as a consequence the ABC DLBCL cells die.
“This discovery is the beginning of new research aimed at inhibiting the NF-B pathway in tumors,” said Dr. Louis Staudt from NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, who co-led one of the studies with Dr. Margot Thome of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Their results appeared online November 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Jürgen Ruland of the Technical University of Munich led the other study, published last month in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Both groups conducted similar experiments with the same types of cells and inhibitors. While these inhibitors are unlikely to be used in the clinic, the fact that both groups achieved the same result strongly suggests that MALT1 could have a role in future strategies for treating this lymphoma, Dr. Staudt said.
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