Scientists have discovered how to “switch off faulty stem cells” that can lead to leukaemia, The Daily Telegraph has reported.
The research found that blocking the action of a protein called beta catenin in mice could make certain types of cancerous leukaemia stem cells revert to a pre-cancerous stage. The stem cells also became more susceptible to certain chemotherapy drug treatments.
When the researchers suppressed beta catenin in human leukaemia cells they found it could slow their division only if they carried an abnormal form of a gene called MLL, which is associated with certain forms of the disease, including one known as acute myeloid leukaemia. This suggests the results may only apply to cases of leukaemia that involve the abnormal MLL gene.
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