(Ivanhoe Newswire) Researchers have come up with a mouse model of lymphoma that is helping to explain how the disease develops in people, and even more importantly, how to improve treaments.
The National Jewish Medical and Research Center team looked specifically at the role the B-cell receptor may play in the disease. Normally, this receptor binds to molecules on foreign invaders, causing a proliferation of B cells and the production of antibodies to mark the invaders for destruction.
In people with the MYC oncogene, a cancer causing gene that puts people at higher risk for lymphoma, the B-cell receptor actually works with the oncogene to foster the development of the cancer.
In the mouse model researchers were able to show immunosuppressants. They prevented the B-cell receptor from sending signals, and actually prevented tumors from forming or eliminated them once they had formed.
About 90 percent of non-Hodgkins lymphomas are linked to B-cell problems, report the authors. Finding better treatments for the disease is paramount, because statistics show it is one of the few cancers that have grown in incidence over the past 20 years.
Our findings have pointed to the B-cell receptor and its signaling pathways as very promising therapeutic targets for B-cell lymphomas, study author Yosef Refaeli, Ph.D., was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: PLoS Biology, published online June 24, 2008
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