We welcome a new research development that points to a potential prevention strategy for several forms of blood cancer
Publish Date: 4/3/2016
There has been a new development on a research discovery announced in January 2014 that showed that a cancer causing protein (MYC) could be reduced by disabling a protein called MCL-1. MYC is found in abnormally high numbers in approximately 70% of cancers.
Today, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute research team, led by Dr Stephanie Grabow, Dr Brandon Aubrey and Professor Andreas Strasser, published new findings about the potential to prevent blood cancer from developing by reducing the level of the MCL-1 protein in the body.
“No one had realised just how vulnerable cells undergoing cancerous changes are to a relatively minor reduction in the levels of MCL-1,” said Dr Grabow. “We found that MCL-1 is critical for keeping developing cancer cells alive through the stressful events that cause the transformation of a healthy cell into a cancerous cell. This result is particularly exciting because MCL-1 inhibitors are already in development as anti-cancer drugs.
“Our colleagues had previously discovered that reducing the activity of MCL-1 is a promising strategy to treat malignant MYC-driven cancers. We have now shown that the same approach might be able to prevent those cancers from forming in the first place,” Dr Grabow said.
“Prevention is the holy grail in the context of cancer. Put simply, if we can stop the cancer from developing, thousands of families each year could be spared from immeasurable pain and heartache.
Leukaemia Foundation CEO, Ms Sally Trestrail, said this discovery uncovers a new pathway to reduce the impact of blood cancers across the world, and she thanked supporters for enabling the Foundation to invest in this important project.
“Prevention is the holy grail in the context of cancer,” said Ms Trestrail. “Every day, 34 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer. Treatment can be long and brutal, and may be followed by a cycle of remission and relapse. This takes a heavy toll on the emotional state of the patient and those that care for them.Put simply, if we can stop the cancer from developing, thousands of families each year could be spared from immeasurable pain and heartache.
“We congratulate the research team for their dedication and commitment, and sincerely thank the generous Leukaemia Foundation donors and supporters of events such as World’s Greatest Shave who give us the financial means to invest in world-class research like this through our National Research Program,” Ms Trestrail said.
The Leukaemia Foundation receives no ongoing government funding and relies on the support of the community to support world-class research. You can ensure urgent search and promising research like this continues by making a donation today.
To learn more about the relationship between MCL-1 and blood cancer read our previously published article.