Eliminating RNA-Binding Protein (IGF2BP3) Improves Survival in Aggressive Leukemia

Removing a protein that is often overexpressed in a rare and aggressive subtype of leukemia can help to slow the cancer’s development and significantly increase the likelihood of survival, according to a study in mice led by scientists at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The research, published online on June 29, 2021 in Leukemia, could aid in the development of targeted therapies for cancers that have high levels of the RNA-binding protein IGF2BP3 (insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 3)--especially acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemias that are characterized by chromosomal rearrangements in the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene. The open-access article is titled “The RNA-Binding Protein IGF2BP3 Is Critical for MLL-AF4-Mediated Leukemogenesis.” In these MLL-rearranged leukemias, IGF2BP3 attaches to certain RNA molecules that carry genetic instructions for cancer-related proteins, markedly amplifying cancer development. Children and adults diagnosed with this subtype have a poor prognosis and a high risk of relapse after treatment.

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