Defeating leukemia cells by depriving them of energy
Acute myeloid leukemia, which affects blood and bone marrow cells, is a particularly dangerous form of cancer. More than half of patients under the age of 60 die. This proportion rises to 85% for patients over 60. A team has now identified a previously unknown mechanism that could lead to the development of new therapies. The selective activation of AMPK, a key enzyme in the energy balance of tumor cells, would indeed lead to their death by triggering the cells stress response. Moreover, the scientists have successfully exploited this energy gap in an animal model of the disease: a combination of two drugs — one of which is already on the market — has indeed shown promise. However, their effectiveness has yet to be confirmed on leukaemia stem cells, which have the ability to escape many treatments to restart tumor growth.
Materials provided by Université de Genève. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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