Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow that is characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of myeloid cells. Nearly 4500 new cases of CML are diagnosed each year in the United States alone and thus, it is not surprising that this human malignancy is the
most extensively studied type of cancer. In over 90% of cases of CML, the presence of a chromosomal abnormality forms the basis for the molecular biology behind the pathogenesis of this type of leukemia. A reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 yields a shorter 22nd chromosome, termed the Philadelphia chromosome. The resulting protooncogene caused by the fusion of two genes, Bcr and Abl, ultimately leads to cellular proliferation, decreased adherence of the leukemia cells to the bone marrow stroma, and reduced sensitivity to apoptosis, or cell death. Research conducted at the University of Chicago Center for Molecular Oncology led to the development of a novel kinase assay that increases the ease with which Bcr-Abl activity is detected within cell extracts. The goal of this specific study was to improve the methodology of this assay in an effort to further improve the sensitivity of detection.
Britton Walker, ’07 Lisbon, IA
Majors: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Spanish
Sponsor: Craig Tepper