New perspectives for the therapeutic approach to Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia from an international study coordinated by researchers of the Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences "Mario Serio", University of Florence. They emerge from a study carried out in collaboration with Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi and Istituto Toscano Tumori, published in the Blood journal and entitled "Targeting chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells with the hypoxia-inducible factor inhibitor acriflavine" (doi: blood-2016-10-745588).
The study describes a strategy to suppress leukaemia cells refractory to current therapy and responsible for relapse of disease.
Therapeutic approaches directed to block the biological activity of the protein responsible for the onset of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia –Persio Dello Sbarba, professor of General Pathology (University of Florence), explains- are ineffective in preventing relapse of disease because inactive on leukaemia stem cells. These cells therefore persist in bone marrow, even of patients who brilliantly responded to therapy, representing a silent residual disease which sooner or later determines relapse at the clinical level.
The research team of University of Firenze, who pioneered studies of the maintenance of haematopoietic stem cells within the tissue microenvironment of bone marrow, designed a strategy to suppress stem cells of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. "We tested, in vitro on haematopoietic stem cells explanded from Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia patients and in vivo using a murine model of the disease, the action of an antibiotic capable to inhibit physiological factors enabling the persistence of stem cells within the «stem cell niches» of bone marrow, where these cells are refractory to the effects of conventional therapy. This antibiotic is therefore capable to suppress leukaemia stem cells." –the researcher explains- "Since this molecule does not interfere, rather positively interacts, with currently used therapeutic agents, –Dello Sbarba concludes- our study may provide useful information in view of a new therapeutic approach to the prevention of relapse of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia".