Dindial RamotarLeukemia is said to be a cancer of the blood or bone marrow typified by an irregular augment of blood cells, generally leukocytes i.e. white blood cells. Canadian researchers seem to have found a formerly concealed outlet to assault leukemia and other cancer cells.

This discovery from the Université de Montréal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Université Laval may alter the way doctors treat cancer patients. The scientists started examining their theory a decade ago by means of baker’s yeast, which seems to be extraordinarily akin to human cells.

“We found a gateway, which is present in all humans, that allows anti-cancer agents such as Bleomycin to enter the body so they may reach and attack leukemia cells,” commented, senior author Dindial Ramotar, a professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine and a scientist at the affiliated Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.

The new gateway (SLC22A16) could turn out to be a lifesaver for patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that apparently affects white blood cells. AML patients are believed to be tremendously hard to treat, as most appear to be unresponsive to anticancer remedies.

Dr. Ramotar mentioned, “We can now streamline anti-cancer agents to treat AML. For example, we found the anti-cancer agent Bleomycin has positive results on lymphoma cells derived from patients and depends on the presence of the gateway. That’s especially good news, since Bleomycin does not act as an immunosuppressant.”

The newly detected gateway is said to be only present in some cell types such as those derived from bone marrow. Moreover, the path may not function in colon and breast cancer, thereby making it hard to treat these patients with Bleomycin. The researchers want to now examine ways to stimulate the gateway to treat a broad range of cancers using Bleomycin and other drugs.

The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.