Chronic Myeloid Lukemia

Mason Warren & Kyle Thompson

The Basics

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), there are too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell. --

Signaling Pathway Involved

The Wnt signaling pathway with its main component, the protein beta-catenin has been studied extensively. Normally, it is critical for the regulation of embryonic cells.

If this pathway has been erroneously activated by the imatinib, various types of cancer can arise. Wnt signaling also plays an important role in triggering a blast crisis in CML.

The interferon signaling pathway, particularly the function of the interferon regulatory factor 8 (Irf8).

Irf8 protects against infection and regulates the production of a specific type of white blood cells, the granulocytes. Irf8 counteracts the BCR-ABL oncoprotein and may suppress the development of cancer.


The Correct Pathway: oncogenic tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL

The Incorrect Pathway: imatinib, an inhibitor of BCR-ABL

Graphic of Pathway

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Direction of Research

Research and testing is being conducted in labs around the world.

"The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors into clinical practice has far exceeded expectations and resurrected hope that the fundamental insights from the "war on cancer" can lead to significant therapeutic advances." --

"Because researchers now know the main cause of CML (the BCR-ABL gene and its protein), they have been able to develop many new drugs that might work against it." --