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Aurora magazine

Pediatric leukemia: new project to block the molecular mechanism

AIRC has funded a new research project against acute myeloid leukemia, led by the St. Orsola Hospital. The research aims to find a way to block a molecular mechanism that makes the most aggressive cancer. This fact causes a greater resistance to chemotherapy, making it easy to incur relapses.

Today the pediatric acute myeloid leukemia has a recurrence rate of about 30%. At 5 years of diagnosis, it survives only 65% ​​of young patients, often precisely because of a lack of effectiveness of standard therapies. The Bologna team is studying the role of the mobile phone via Hedgehog. The uncontrolled activation of this pathway renders the tumor more resistant to chemotherapy, making it often necessary to transplantation. It also facilitates the reappearance of cancer even years after the apparent cure.

Other projects have identified inhibitors able to block the Hedgehog, at least in vitro. The inhibitors were also tested on adult subjects, with positive results: 30% of the cells are already active death following treatment. The new project aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms that cause the activation of the cell, testing specifically designed inhibitors for children. If all goes well, the project will continue until early 2020.