PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

UCSF-led study explains how early childhood vaccination reduces leukemia risk

Chronic infections push 'pre-leukemia' cells, common in newborns, into malignancy

2015-05-18
(Press-News.org) A team led by UCSF researchers has discovered how a commonly administered vaccine protects against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer.

The Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) vaccine not only prevents ear infections and meningitis caused by the Hib bacterium, but also protects against ALL, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of cancer diagnoses among children younger than 15 years, according to the National Cancer Society. The Hib vaccine is part of the standard vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and is routinely given to children in four doses before 15 months of age.

Though the cancer protection offered by the Hib vaccine has been well established in epidemiological studies, it is not well-known among the public at large, and the mechanism underlying this effect has been poorly understood. Now, in work to be reported on Monday, May 18, 2015 in Nature Immunology, an international team led by UCSF researchers has shown that recurrent Hib infections can put certain immune-system genes into overdrive, converting "pre-leukemia" blood cells -- which are present in a surprisingly large number of newborns -- into full-blown cancer.

"These experiments help explain why the incidence of leukemia has been dramatically reduced since the advent of regular vaccinations during infancy," said Markus Müschen, MD, PhD, professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF and senior author of the study. "Hib and other childhood infections can cause recurrent and vehement immune responses, which we have found could lead to leukemia, but infants that have received vaccines are largely protected and acquire long-term immunity through very mild immune reactions."

Many newborns carry oncogenes -- genes that could potentially cause cancer -- in their blood cells, but only one in 10,000 will eventually develop ALL. In the new study, the researchers tested the idea that chronic inflammation caused by recurrent infections might cause "collateral damage" -- additional genetic lesions -- in blood cells already carrying an oncogene, promoting their transformation to overt disease.

Led by co-first authors Srividya Swaminathan, PhD, a former UCSF postdoctoral fellow now at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Lars Klemm, assistant research specialist at UCSF, the research team conducted experiments with mice that homed in on two enzymes known as AID and RAG as the drivers of this process.

AID and RAG introduce mutations in DNA that allow immune cells to adapt to infectious challenges, and these enzymes are necessary for a normal and efficient immune response. But in the presence of chronic infection, the group found, AID and RAG are strongly hyperactivated, and they cut and mutate genes randomly, including important gatekeepers against cancer.

By studying genetically engineered pre-leukemia cells lacking either AID or RAG, as well as cells lacking both enzymes, the team found that AID and RAG working together is critical to introduce the additional lesions that result in life-threatening disease.

Though the researchers focused on Hib, a bacterial infection, they believe that the same mechanisms may be at work in viral infections. The team is currently conducting experiments to determine if protection against leukemia is also provided by vaccines against viral infections, such as the well known MMR vaccine at the center of recent anti-vaccination controversies.

Mel F. Greaves, MD, PhD, professor of cell biology at the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, is among the scientists who developed the theory that chronic and recurrent immune reactions during infancy promote cancer in children and one of the co-authors of the study. "The study provides mechanistic support for the hypothesis that infection or inflammation promotes the evolution of childhood leukemia and that the timing of common infections in early life is critical," said Greaves.

INFORMATION:

Also participating in the research were scientists from the University of Freiburg; Cambridge University; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; the University of Southern California; Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf; the University of Ulm; the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; and Yale School of Medicine.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health; the National Cancer Institute; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; the William Lawrence and Blanche Hughes Foundation; the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine; the Wellcome Trust; and Cancer Research UK.

UCSF is the nation's leading university exclusively focused on health. UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. Please visit http://www.ucsf.edu.



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Researchers make progress engineering digestive system tissues

2015-05-18
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - May 18, 2015 - New proof-of-concept research at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine suggests the potential for engineering replacement intestine tissue in the lab, a treatment that could be applied to infants born with a short bowel and adults having large pieces of gut removed due to cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Lead researcher Khalil N Bitar, Ph.D., a professor at the institute, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reported the results this week at Digestive Diseases Week in Washington, D.C. He also updated ...

Novel insights in MET-proto-oncogene might lead to optimizing cancer treatment

2015-05-18
The MET-proto-oncogene is involved in the pathogenesis of several tumors and therefore represents an interesting target for future therapies currently tested in dozens of clinical trials. Veronica Finisguerra, Andrea Casazza, Max Mazzone and colleagues from VIB, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven now reveal that MET is needed for the recruitment of anti-tumoral neutrophils and puts a mechanism into action that promotes the killing of cancer cells. This means that the efficacy of a cancer therapy targeting MET in cancer cells will partly be countered by the pro-tumoral effect arising ...

Beyond the poppy: A new method of opium production

2015-05-18
Moonshiners and home-brewers have long used yeast to convert sugar into alcohol. New research shows that those methods could also be adapted for something with more significant ramifications: the production of drugs including opiates, antibiotics, and anti-cancer therapeutics. According to new studies by researchers from Concordia University in Montreal and the University of California, Berkeley, yeast can be engineered to convert sugar to alkaloids -- plant-derived compounds such as codeine and morphine, naturally produced in the opium poppy. Collaborating on synthesis ...

Study highlights ways to boost weather and climate predictions

2015-05-18
Long range weather forecasts and climate change projections could be significantly boosted by advances in our understanding of the relationship between layers of the Earth's atmosphere -- the stratosphere and troposphere. A team of UK scientists have studied how a circulation changes in the stratosphere (above 10 km) can influence both weather and climate conditions on the surface of the Earth. The experts, who include Professor Mark Baldwin from the University of Exeter, argue that the predictability and persistence of stratospheric events could help scientists enhance ...

Men with asthma less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer

2015-05-18
In what they are calling a surprising finding in a large study of men who completed questionnaires and allowed scientists to review their medical records, Johns Hopkins researchers report that men with a history of asthma were less likely than those without it to develop lethal prostate cancer. In their analysis of data collected from 47,880 men and described online Feb. 27 in the International Journal of Cancer, the scientists found that men with a history of asthma were 29 percent less likely to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that spread or to have died of ...

Designing better medical implants

2015-05-18
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Biomedical devices that can be implanted in the body for drug delivery, tissue engineering, or sensing can help improve treatment for many diseases. However, such devices are often susceptible to attack by the immune system, which can render them useless. A team of MIT researchers has come up with a way to reduce that immune-system rejection. In a study appearing in the May 18 issue of Nature Materials, they found that the geometry of implantable devices has a significant impact on how well the body will tolerate them. Although the researchers expected ...

Cooling children after cardiac arrest provides no significant benefit

2015-05-18
DETROIT, Mich., Monday, May 18, 2015 -- Although body-cooling has long been a standard of care in treating adults after heart attacks, a recently published multi-center study has concluded that the same procedure -- known as "therapeutic hypothermia" -- does not confer any survival-with-quality-of-life benefit for children who are resuscitated after suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The study noted hypothermia is no more effective than maintaining normal body temperature by preventing fever in the children being treated. These surprising results, published April ...

When citizens disobey

2015-05-18
When citizens stop complying with laws, the legitimacy of government comes into question, especially in nondemocratic states -- or so goes a prominent strand of political thinking. But what if citizens are doing something subtler, such as disobeying in order to enact smaller, more incremental changes? That's the implication of a new study of political attitudes among people in rural China, an area where political scientists would not normally expect to see give-and-take between residents and the government. The study, conducted by Lily Tsai, an associate professor of ...

Climate change altering frequency, intensity of hurricanes

2015-05-18
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a Florida State geography professor. In a paper published today by Nature Climate Change, Professor Jim Elsner and his former graduate student Namyoung Kang found that rising ocean temperatures are having an effect on how many tropical storms and hurricanes develop each year. "We're seeing fewer hurricanes, but the ones we do see are more intense," Elsner said. "When one comes, all hell can break loose." Prior to this research, there had ...

OU geologist collaborates on study to determine mechanism associated with fault weakening

2015-05-18
A University of Oklahoma structural geologist and collaborators are studying earthquake instability and the mechanisms associated with fault weakening during slip. The mechanism of this weakening is central to understanding earthquake sliding. Ze'ev Reches, professor in the OU School of Geology and Geophysics, is using electron microscopy to examine velocity and temperature in two key observations: (1) a high-speed friction experiment on carbonate at conditions of shallow earthquakes, and (2) a high-pressure/high-temperature faulting experiment at conditions of very ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] UCSF-led study explains how early childhood vaccination reduces leukemia risk
Chronic infections push 'pre-leukemia' cells, common in newborns, into malignancy