Researchers discover a connection between leukemia and blood cancer

Estimates of the impact of cancer treatment on survival vary widely but are often based on estimates from laboratory models. In a new study, scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found a connection between blood cancer and leukemia – a result that may level a further notch on the science’s plate. The researchers believe that this even with the best current cancer treatments.

Type of cancer is likely to depend on both genetic factors and environmental factors, such as exposure to radiation, toxins and certain medicines. At the moment, it is therefore crucial to understand the specific mechanisms of this relationship and develop effective new treatments.

The cause and pathophysiology of leukemia are both very different. For the first time we have been able to identify two cancer traits associated with a specific type of blood cancer. This is possible because we have been able to grow leukemia in the lab using special oocyte tissue transplants. Using this method we were able to study the molecular mechanisms behind leukemia in detail.”

Attila Marcin Huttunen, researcher at the Department of Medicine-Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Karolinska Institutet and the study’s corresponding author.

His research group has already seen preliminary results in this regard and is very excited with the results.

“We see that our results may be helpful to the blood cancer researchers, scientists treating patients and to medical doctors,” says lead author of the study, Ingo Malmö, researcher at the Dr. Benedict Olsson Children’s Hospital, who is to present the study at the Metabolism Week in Copenhagen from January 7 to 12.

An explanation for the findings.

The research group’s first priority was to identify factors related to cancers that are present in blood disorders but are not present in any other cancer types after major surgery such as heart attack, kidney cancer or brain cancer. “This is because our results indicate that leukemia affects a subgroup of non-metastatic leukemia cells and all these types of cancer all have the same mechanism of action,” confirms the researcher.

To do this the type of leukemia cell line kept in the lab was identical for both blood cancer and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). “Our study shows that we can characterize the molecular imprint, potential influences, and possible mechanisms underlying leukemia in this important type of leukemia often managed with the ‘traditional’ blood test technique,” he explains. “Instead of 10 to 20 cell lines or small clonal experiments with 10% of the patients being affected, we were able to establish three to four lines of the entire population: these lines could be used in the laboratory.”