Horizon Brightening for Lymphoma

Lymphoma in mice killed with two molecules identified in new study

(RxWiki News) Just because something works in mice, doesn't mean it will work in humans. That being said, a new mouse study holds out hope for a new therapy for lymphoma.

Researchers have identified two molecules that are better killers of lymphoma than existing therapies. These findings, if they hold true for humans, could lead to new cancer therapies.

"Ask your doctor about the very latest science relating to lymphoma therapies."

First author Hye-Ra Lee, Ph.D., a research fellow in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, led the study.

The molecules Lee and colleagues studied target an enzyme in cancer cells that manages p53, a protein that helps kill cancer.

Lee found that these molecules - which are peptides - cause p53 levels to increase which in turn leads to increased cell death.

When the two peptides were injected into mice, the lymphoma tumors shrunk, and this happened without any negative side effects.

Lee and her colleagues discovered that the peptides block a protein known as HAUSP (herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin specific protease) which increases the p53 levels, making the protein more powerful and effective in killing cancer cells.

Lymphoma is a cancer that appears in the lymphatic system. There are two main types - Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, about 628,415 people were living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease) in 2010.

This discovery, which appears in the November 6, 2011 edition of the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, could lead to the development of new anti-cancer drugs.

Other authors include researchers from Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea Basic Science Institute, Korea University, University of Science and Technology (Korea), and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Review Date: 
November 7, 2011