Improving Childhood Leukemia Treatment

Improving Childhood Leukemia Treatment

Author: David Bradley

There are about 5000 new cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) each year in the US making it the most common type of cancer in childhood. The enzyme terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT), a specialized DNA polymerase, is a useful biomarker for ALL with about nine out of ten patients over-expressing this enzyme.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA, have looked at two putative anti-leukemia compounds, the non-natural nucleotides 5-nitroindolyl-2′-deoxynucleoside triphosphate (5-NITP) and 3-ethynyl-5-nitroindolyl-2′-deoxynucleoside triphosphate (3-Eth-5-NITP) and their activity against TdT. Both compounds are active in laboratory tests against leukemia cells that over express TdT. The team suggests that the compounds might be useful theranostic agents for defining chemotherapy regimens more precisely in order to improve efficacy and reduce side-effects.

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