Researchers discover potential Achilles heel of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have uncovered a potential Achilles heel of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children that could lead to new treatments for this devastating disease.

The team was the first to identify specific super-enhancers (SE) – regions of DNA that drive the overproduction of certain gene products – in cells from children with AML. These SE were associated with leukemia-promoting genes and were generally distinct from the previously published SE of adult AML. One SE of specific interest was associated with the gene RARA. Sixty-four percent of the pediatric patient AML samples the researchers studied had this RARA SE.

AML cells with a RARA SE were sensitive to treatment with the drug tamibarotene in lab…

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