Leukaemia is one of the three major types of blood cancer. While most cases are treatable, almost a third of people living with Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (Ph+ALL), are difficult to treat due as they are resistant to current drugs.

Now, researchers at the Aga Khan University’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) and Cardiff University have identified the mechanism that renders these treatments ineffective, highlighting a signalling pathway that can suppress or kill resistant cancerous cells.

“Our study detected a signalling pathway which is switched on and doesn’t switch off in treatment-resistant Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Ph+ALL,” said Dr Afsar Mian, an assistant professor at CRM in a press release. “Blocking this pathway would prevent a protein from activating another protein thereby preventing the development of resistance in cancer cells and ultimately their growth and spread.”

Dr Mian, who is investigating the AKT/mTOR pathway along with lead researcher Prof Oliver Ottmann of Cardiff University, UK, used cell lines from a child and an adult with Ph+ALL. Drug resistance was induced in the child’s sample while the adult’s sample was already resistant to treatment.

In both instances, the AKT/mTOR pathway was driving drug resistance while a specific chemical compound was acting as a ‘brake’ on the function of the pathway, stopping the growth of cancerous cells.

From : pk.mashable.com

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