Upstate News

September 18, 2007
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Researcher awarded $188,000 grant from NIH for study on how leukemia virus attacks cells

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Backed by a $188,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University will use mice that are genetically engineered to be compatible with the human immune systems to take a closer look at how the virus that causes leukemia attacks the human cell structure leading to the development of adult T cell leukemia.

“This study will give us the understanding of the molecular events that takes the human T-lymphotropic virus, which causes leukemia, from induction, to infection to full blown leukemia,” said Gerold Feuer, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Feuer said the use of genetically engineered mice is essential in moving this research forward since the virus that causes leukemia is a virus that survives only in human cells.

“We will use the virus as a tool to identify the molecular events that predispose human stem cells to develop into leukemia,” Feuer said. “This knowledge may help us in the future as we seek to develop enhanced treatments for treating leukemia.”

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood that occurs most often in older adults, though more than 3,000 cases are diagnosed in children annually.

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