Pathway Identified in Human Lymphoma Points Way to New Blood Cancer Treatments


November 26, 2012

A pathway called the "Unfolded Protein Response," or UPR, a cell's way of responding to unfolded and misfolded proteins, helps tumor cells escape programmed cell death during the development of lymphoma. Research, led by Lori Hart, PhD, research associate and Constantinos Koumenis, PhD, associate professor, and research division director in the Department of Radiation Oncology, both from the Perelman School of Medicine, and colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco, shows for the first time that the UPR is active in patients with human lymphomas and mice genetically bred to develop lymphomas. Importantly, when the UPR is inactivated, lymphoma cells readily undergo cell death. Their findings appear online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and will appear in the December 2012 issue. "The general implications of our work are that components of this pathway may be attractive anti-tumor targets, especially in lymphomas," says Koumenis. "Indeed, an enzyme called PERK, a kinase that we found to play a central role in UPR, is already being targeted by several groups, in academia and pharmaceutical companies with specific inhibitors."

Penn Medicine News Release