British researchers say they have identified a protein used by acute myeloid leukaemia to block reactions from the immune systems.
The researchers at the University of Kent have pin-pointed the protein galectin-9 - previously associated with Hodgkin's lymphoma - as playing a key role in the disease.
The protein is released through stimulation of the latrophilin 1 receptor by leukaemia cells, but not by health cells, they report in EbioMedicine.
The scientists at Kent's Medway school of pharmacy have worked with the Hubertus Wald University Cancer Centre at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, on the project together with the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Researcher Dr Vadim Sumbayev, based in Kent, said: 'Targeting this pathway will crucially enhance patients own immune defences, helping them to eliminate leukaemia cells.'
Source: Gonçalves Silva, I., et al. The Tim-3-galectin-9 Secretory Pathway is Involved in the Immune Escape of Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells EbioMedicine 19 July 2017
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