Discovery Links Molecular Pathways for Therapeutic Possibilities in MPN

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New discoveries from Dr. Jian Xu’s laboratory uncover several promising therapeutic possibilities for a specific type of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). His work elucidates the ways by which epigenetic and signaling pathways’ cooperation can affect metabolism and contribute to disease development. Specifically, the epigenetic modifier EZH2 and signaling agent NRAS can work together through different mechanistic approaches to encourage amino acid metabolism to favor the production of branched-chain amino acids. The ultimate result of this effect is an activation of mTOR, which is a known oncogenic protein. FDA-approved drugs targeting mTOR already exist, and Dr. Xu’s research suggests these drugs may be useful, after clinical testing, in the treatment of MPNs affected by these mutations. Importantly, Dr. Xu’s team identifies the specific pathways involved in the activation of mTOR, thereby discovering several other potential therapeutic options. This research provides the rationale to explore, develop, and test these options with the goal of eventual clinical application for the treatment of this specific disease landscape. This Spotlight summarizes some of the mechanics behind the discoveries founded by this research as well as some of the experimentation conducted by Dr. Xu’s team that led them to these exciting conclusions. Read more...


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