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(Vienna, 1st July 2011) Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma is an extremely insidious disease. It frequently occurs in children, however also in adults. Anomalies in the patient’s genetic make-up are typical, which lead to the false matching of sections of chromosomes and to the activation of signal molecules. Expert researchers of the “European Research Initiative on ALCL” (ERIA) discussed new approaches for possible treatments during a conference in Vienna on 27th and 28th June.

The conference took place at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research in Vienna. ERIA was founded by Lukas Kenner (MedUni Vienna), the Salzburg scientist Olaf Merkel as well as Suzanne Turner (Cambridge / Great Britain). Only last year Kenner and Merkel discovered possible causes for lymph node cancer. They published their findings last year in the US science journal “PNAS”.

“For lymphomas there is typically the pathological matching of chromosomes, which combines genes, which are otherwise not joined together, into a hybrid protein molecule”, according to Kenner. These molecules lead to severe activation in the tumours of the regulatory gene ALK, which normally transmits growth signals. Through the hyperactivity of ALK there is however the result of an increase and deterioration of white blood cells.

However, it is also known that in approximately half of lymphoma patients the ALK molecules are missing. This leads to an increased onset of regulatory microRNA molecules, which results in tumours, at least in animal tests. The scientists are now attempting to ‘nail down’ possible new targets for treatments with medication. This could also be important for the treatment of other cancers.

From: APA (WW/af)