Scientists Identify a New Target the Treatment of AML

Although kinase-targeting drugs have been used for many years in the fight against AML and other cancers,  according to a recent article published in FierceBiotech, scientists at the Cold Spring Harber labs in New York say that their new finding is noteworthy in providing a potentially valuable new approach.

What Drives AML?

AML depends on phosphatase SCP4 for growth and survival. Kinase inhibitors target specific cancers and therefore reduce the risk of damage to normal cells.

Phosphatases (proteins) are critical to cellular signaling pathways. These pathways are part of a complex communication system governing the activities of cells. This includes AML cells that rely on proteins for their survival.

 Phosphatases and Kinases work together to regulate cell activity. The Cold Spring team used CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screening and identified the phosphatases that AML relies upon in order to survive. Out of 217 phosphatase locations in the body, eleven tested as essential with SCP4 heading the list.

The researchers tested their theory further by crippling SCP4 in healthy cells. There were no specific problems in lab dishes or in mice.

Going forward and in order to ascertain an even better understanding of SCP4, the researchers discovered that phosphatase performs through two kinases, namely STK35 and PDIK1L.

The team reported their findings in Cell Reports.

Other Studies

  • Researchers at Sanford Burnham and Glasgow University, searching for other approaches against AML, found that inhibition of BET and MDM2 combined would trigger protein p53 more effectively than if the drugs were administered individually.
  • Researchers at Pennsylvania University found that inhibiting the protein ZMYND8, which recognizes changes in gene expression, could prevent the growth of AML in mice. The team used CRISPR to screen for changes in organisms (epigenetic changes) involving the spread of cancer in the body.
  • The FDA has approved other cancer drugs (kinase inhibitors) against the FLT3 kinase, namely Xospata and Rydapt.

In conclusion, the Cold Spring team sees SCP4 together with PDIK1L and STK35 as having the potential to be a new therapeutic against AML.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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