Funded by the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund
The Schwartz Lab studies two genes, SAMD9 and SAMD9L that are known to cause a bone marrow failure syndrome in children called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). There are no reliable pediatric MDS model systems, thus we have created one from a special type of stem cell that contains mutated SAMD9 or SAMD9L. It is important to have these new cell lines, because cells that we can obtain from patients do not grow well or for a long time making studying them very hard. We will perform several tests in our new model system to determine why mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L cause blood stem cells to die. Together with our cell lines we have also developed a second set of tools that will allow us to turn on or to turn off SAMD9 or SAMD9L without using interferon—an inflammatory substance in the cell that turns on many other cell processes including SAMD9 and SAMD9L. We have completed initial experiments that suggest that SAMD9 and SAMD9L are important in how cells communicate during inflammation and other immune responses. Our proposed experiments will further determine how disease-causing mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L disrupt communication in these important cellular pathways. Understanding how SAMD9/9L mutations effect the blood stem cells will help us determine the right treatment approach for patients with pediatric MDS, because some patients with SAMD9 or SAMD9L mutations may not need treatment at all.