The Center for Networked Biomedical Research in Cancer (CIBERONC) (Spain), through the research group led by Xosé R. Bustelo, also belonging to the Cancer Research Center of Salamanca, has just discovered that the VAV1 gene, usually involved in the formation of a wide range of tumors, can also play roles involved in the suppression of some specific types of acute lymphoblastic leukemia of T lymphocytes.
This leukemia is the most frequent pediatric cancer and, even today, it poses many challenges for an adequate diagnosis and treatment. This discovery has just been published in the prestigious scientific journal Cancer Cell. T-lymphocytes are cells of the immune system whose function is to recognize and destroy cells from our organs that have become cancerous or that have been infected by viruses or other pathogens. They are also in charge of regulating other cells of the immune system, which are involved in the destruction of any external agent that invades our body, such as chemicals or bacteria. Despite these positive functions, T lymphocytes undergo in some cases genetic alterations that turn them from protective agents to malignant cells that cause tumors.
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