Geron commences enrollment in imetelstat Phase 2 clinical trial for NSCLC

April 05, 2016

Reya's team found that Musashi is particularly elevated in stem cells and needed for their growth, which could help explain why it is co-opted to promote the growth of immature cells in cancers as well. Musashi expression was 10 times higher in the more immature blast crisis CML phase. It may be a target for future therapies because blocking Mushashi could block cancer growth, Reya said.

"Our current work shows that activating Numb, or blocking Musashi can inhibit blast-crisis CML," Reya said.

Reya explained that there are two basic approaches to fighting cancer cell growth. One is to trigger programmed cell death in cancer cells or to block their growth directly. The other method, which may work in cases where the cancer is composed of immature cells, is to force these cells to mature and differentiate.

"The resulting depletion of immature cells can deliver a heavy blow to the continued growth of the cancer, as is seen in this study," Reya said.

Since high levels of Musashi appear to be an early marker of advanced CML, this might be a tool to determine patient prognosis as well, Reya said.

She said reports of higher levels of Musashi in glioblastoma and lower levels of Numb in high-grade breast cancer raise the possibility that the Musashi-Numb pathway could also be involved in solid cancers.

Source: Duke University Medical Center