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Fluorescence resonance energy transfer technique IDs kinase activity in chronic myeloid leukemia

-- Lindsey Marcellin

Thursday, July 29, 2010 (Last Updated: 07/30/2010)

THURSDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- A new diagnostic method that uses fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) can detect small populations of drug-resistant cancer cells in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients treated with imatinib, according to research published in the August 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Tatsuaki Mizutani, of Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Sapporo, Japan, and colleagues developed a biosensor that could evaluate the activity of BCR-ABL kinase -- usually suppressed by imatinib in sensitive CML patients -- using a technique based on the principle of FRET. The properties of this biosensor were tested by comparison with established methods such as Western blotting and flow-cytometry, before being used on CML cells to evaluate BCR-ABL activity and its response to treatment drugs.

The researchers found that the biosensor had higher sensitivity than established techniques with regard to measuring BCR-ABL activity and its suppression by imatinib. The biosensor was sensitive enough to detect BCR-ABL activity in small numbers of cells and could also detect minor drug-resistant populations within heterogeneous cell populations at a concentration of less than 1 percent. The researchers also noted that the biosensor allowed them to predict drug resistance onset and to monitor disease status during treatment with imatinib.

"FRET biosensors are ideal for screening for the efficacy of kinase inhibitors or drugs in live cells. In addition to drug screening, specific and sensitive biosensors can be developed for biomarkers with applications in early cancer detection, cancer prognosis, and monitoring of therapeutic efficacy. More importantly, FRET biosensors can be applied to visualize subcellular molecular signaling events in real time, for the identification of novel targeting molecules and pathways, which may lead to a new era in clinical cancer research," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Pathology

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