Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Although many children who are treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are cured, a significant percentage do not respond to treatment, and when this happens the prognosis is grim. Because of this we need new ideas and approaches for the treatment of so-called relapsed ALL. Instead of only targeting a patient’s leukemia cells, our project also addresses the protective location in the bone marrow. Leukemia cells attach to their support cells in their bone marrow through adhesive molecules. This attachment generates pro-survival signals inside the leukemia cell through a protein called PI3Kδ. We have shown that a drug which inhibits the PI3Kδ protein kills ALL cells, and importantly, also makes them more sensitive to treatment with conventional chemotherapies. Through the support of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Dr. Kim’s group is studying ways to target PI3Kδ optimally to treat patients with relapsed ALL. We are indebted to PCRF for their support and for partnering with us in this important research.