Funded by the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is a common cancer in kids. There are two types, B-ALL and T-ALL, depending on the type of white blood cells affected. Most kids get better with current treatments, but sometimes the cancer comes back and we can’t help them anymore. That’s why we need new treatments for T-ALL.
We know that certain drugs used in the hospital affect how leukemia metabolism works. So, we wondered if changing the diet could also help. In our lab, we tried different diets on mice with leukemia. Surprisingly, we found that removing just one component of the food (an amino acid), made a big difference. Leukemic mice eating food without this amino acid lived much longer.
Now we want to understand why this dietary approach helps and if we can use it in combination with other treatments. We will study mice with leukemia and samples from real patients to see how this amino acid affects cancer. We also want to find out if combining this diet with current treatments works even better.
If our research is successful, we can try it on real patients. We want to see if reducing this amino acid in the diet can make treatments safer and help more kids survive, especially those whose cancer has come back. This research is important because it could give us new ways to treat leukemia and help more kids get better. It might even help with other types of cancer too.