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Targeting PRMT1 Elicits Anti-tumor Immunity in Childhood Leukemia

Ling Li, PhD

Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope, Los Angeles

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children is caused by genetic changes or mutations to the DNA of stem cells of the blood found in bone marrow. Patient outcomes vary depending upon which genetic alterations have occurred. About 15-20% of childhood AML patients harbor an alteration called “MLL gene rearrangement” (MLL-r), and these patients most often relapse following treatment and carry a poor prognosis. Dr. Ling Li’s laboratory at the City of Hope hospital in Duarte, California, has observed that a particular enzyme, PRMT1, both drives leukemic cell growth and prevents the patient’s immune system from eliminating the cancer cells. With funding from CURE Childhood Cancer, Dr. Li is testing whether an inhibitor of the PRMT1 enzyme could be combined with immunotherapy to treat this deadly form of childhood AML.