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New Laboratory Made Protein to Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer affecting children and adolescents. Even intense chemotherapy treatment falls short in preventing the recurrence of this cancer in some cases.

The biggest challenge in the treatment of this ailment is to precisely locate the malignant cancer cells and destroy them completely without posing any threat to the surrounding healthy cells in the process.

Our body’s natural protection system, the immune system has two types of cells primarily responsible for dealing with the cancer cells of ALL. They are the B cells and the T cells. On the surface of the malignant B cells of ALL, a protein CD19 is present in abundance. It is absent in the cancerous T cells and stem cells which are mostly responsible for producing large number of abnormal cells.

Researchers from the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles utilized this fact about the cancerous B cells and have prepared a protein CD-19 L through bio-engineering techniques which would be applied on the normal T cells.

These T cells would then selectively bind with the malignant B cells and the more threatening cancerous stem cells owing to the action of the newly developed protein CD-19L, selectively destroying them.

Preparations are underway to extend the research development from laboratory to successful human trials. The results of this study are published in the February 2011 issue of the British Journal of Haematology.

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