Loss of a gene in stem cells may be a key precursor to lymphoma, British researchers reported on Tuesday.
The Cambridge University researchers say that stem cells may lose the CREBBP gene long before lymphoma develops.
According to their study of laboratory mice, the earlier the loss of the gene the greater the risk of lymphoma.
They reported their findings in Nature Cell Biology.
The researchers say they have also confirmed mutations of the CREBBP gene in the stem cells of patients who went on to develop the disease.
Researcher Professor Brian Huntly, professor of Leukaemia stem cell biology, said: 'Loss of CREBBP results in a pre-malignant stem cell population that replicates excessively and does not respond appropriately to DNA damage.
'This seems to create a perfect storm for the subsequent acquisition of DNA mutations that lead to the development of lymphoma.
'To our knowledge, this research is the first to demonstrate the existence of a population of dysfunctional pre-malignant stem cells relating to mature lymphoid malignancy, an important finding in the search for effective therapeutics.'
Source: Early loss of CREBBP confers malignant stem cell properties on lymphoid progenitors. Nature Cell Biology 22 August 2017; doi: 10.1038/ncb3597
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