Eradicating An Aggressive Form Of Leukemia By Inactivating One Enzyme

Credit: ThinkStock photos

Credit: ThinkStock photos

A rare form of leukemia called T-ALL (T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia) which affects white blood cells, has been linked to molecules called microRNAs. These are tiny, non-coding RNA molecules that can regulate or silence gene expression. An enzyme called Dicer1, because it effectively chops microRNAs, cuts these molecules in their precursor form and produces one activated half, which then searches out specific RNA translated from genes that it matches to.  

New research shows that by blocking this Dicer1 enzyme, now thought to be a key factor in T-ALL development, the disease was prevented from developing in early stages. Blocking it also allowed T-ALL cells to be eliminated from the mice in later stages of the disease. It turns out that one suspect microRNA (miR-21) was de-regulated in the condition and was silencing a blood cancer suppressing gene. Stopping this variety from forming allowing the tumour suppressing activity to continue or resume. 

Read more at Medical Express