New Insights Into Why People With Down Syndrome Are At Higher Risk For Leukemia

Scientists from Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago were the first to examine endothelial cells – one of the main sources of blood production – for clues as to why people with Down syndrome have higher prevalence of leukemia. They identified a new set of genes that are overexpressed in endothelial cells of patients with Down syndrome. This creates an environment conducive to leukemia, which is characterized by uncontrolled development and growth of blood cells. Their findings, published in the journal Oncotarget, point to new potential targets for treatment and possibly prevention of leukemia, in people with Down syndrome and in the general population.

New High-Throughput Method to Study Gene Splicing at an Unprecedented Scale Reveals New Details About the Process

Genes are like instructions, but with options for building more than one thing. Daniel Larson, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, studies this gene “splicing” process, which happens in normal cells and goes awry in blood cancers like leukemia.

Opening Up DNA to Delete Disease

Protein editorial assistants are clearing the way for cut-and-paste DNA editors, like CRISPR, to access previously inaccessible genes of interest. Opening up these areas of the genetic code is critical to improving CRISPR efficiency and moving toward futuristic, genetic-based assaults on disease. The DNA-binding editorial assistants were devised by a U.S.-based team of bioengineers, who describe their design in APL Bioengineering.