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This version of NSU News has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of NSU News, visit news.nova.edu.

This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

nova.edu/prmc

SharkBytes Archives

Contact

Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954
communications@nova.edu

NSU Researchers Uncover Genetic Marker, Predictor of Early Relapse in Pediatric ALL

AutoNation Institute Team

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) researchers recently discovered that by testing the level of NER (nucleotide excision repair) gene expression, pediatric oncologists can determine the likelihood of early relapse (less than three years) in their acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. This is a critical finding because NER gene expression levels can now help guide doctors in their rationale for appropriate treatment targeted to each patient’s disease.

ALL is the most common childhood cancer. Treatment has improved dramatically due to evolving methods of determining risk factors and genetic analysis. Five-year survival rates have increased substantially from 57% in 1975 – ’77 to 92% in 2006 – ’12. Yet, the current genotoxic chemotherapy regimens are still extremely debilitating.

“Our research found a correlation between high NER expression levels and early relapse of ALL among relapsing patients,” said Jean Latimer, Ph.D., director of the NSU AutoNation Institute for Breast and Solid Tumor Cancer Research and associate professor and cancer research scientist, College of Pharmacy. “Being able to identify patients with the highest risk of early recurrence who are not detectable using present clinical measures and then treating them with a more targeted therapy is crucial to overcoming the cancer.”

This is critical, according to the research recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, BMC Medical Genomics, because while ALL is much more treatable than in the past, the survival rate after relapse is poor.

“By being able to accurately predict if a child’s cancer is likely to recur early or not, we may also spare many children who have low NER levels from the most toxic chemo regimens,” said Latimer.

The AutoNation research team also included Stephen Grant, Ph.D., project director and associate professor, Public Health, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine; Homood As Sobeai, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, and Omar Ibrahim, post-doctoral fellow.

Their complete findings can be found in an article titled, “Nucleotide excision repair is a predictor of early relapse in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia” in BMC Medical Genomics.  This work was supported by funding from AutoNation and the Children’s Leukemia Research Association.