A team of US researchers suggested a new mechanism that controls blood cell function and several possible molecular targets for treating blood cancer.
The researchers found that over expression of a protein, called TRAF6 , in blood cells drives the onset of myelodysplasia syndromes (MDS) – a group of pre-malignant disorders in which bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.
According to the authors, TRAF6 normally functions as an immune sensor of pathogens and MDS can lead to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fast-spreading blood cancer that can be deadly if not treated promptly.
The study was published in the journal of Nature Immunology. “We found that TRAF6 over-expression in mouse hematopoietic (blood) stem cells results in impaired blood cell formation and bone marrow failure,” said lead study author Daniel Starczynowski from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“Based on our paper, a number of therapeutic approaches can be tested and directed against TRAF6 and other related proteins responsible for MDS,” Starczynowski added.