An estimated quarter of the 500 U.S. adolescents and young adults diagnosed each year with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia fail to respond to standard chemotherapy drugs that target cancer cells. Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere said that blocking the action of an enzyme “switch” needed to activate tumor growth is emerging as a practical strategy for treating this aggressive disease.
The study concluded that the enzyme JMJD3 — (pronounced ju-mon-ji D3) — acts as a cancer “on” switch by splitting off a chemical methyl group of another protein that is usually methylated by a tumor-suppressing enzyme. This enzyme, known as polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), acts, in turn, as an “off” switch for cancer cell proliferation. It activates the NOTCH1 biological pathway – a process common to many cancers but especially active in at least half of all people with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Home Taking from this Research Study:
…”block the action of enzymes controlling the transcription of proteins involved in leukemia rather than attempting to directly suppress cancer genes.”