Big Ideas

Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D.

July 8, 2014

V Foundation Translational Grant recipient Dr. Nora Heisterkamp and her colleagues at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles recently published significant research findings regarding acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. ALL, which is more common in children, is characterized by an overproduction of immature white blood cells (lymphoblasts). The lymphoblasts continuously multiply in the bone marrow, causing the damage or destruction of normal blood cells.

Heisterkamp and her team have discovered that by using an antibody to target a particular receptor found on chemotherapy-resistant cells, they can selectively kill cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Receptor antibodies also stimulated immune system cells to destroy leukemia cells and made select leukemia cells more sensitive to chemotherapy.

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