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Analysis of gene expression in lymphoid cells can determine lymphoma cancer

Analyzing the expression levels of the gene CDK9 (cyclin dependent kinase) and its attached molecule CYCLIN T1 in lymphoid cells in a sample of blood can accurately pinpoint lymphoma, according to researchers at Temple University's Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (http://www.shro.org) and the Department of Human Pathology and Oncology at the University of Siena in Italy.

Their study, "CDK9/CYCLIN T1 expression during normal lymphoid differentiation and malignant transformation," appears in the Journal of Pathology (Volume 203, Issue 4).

Lymphomas are generally difficult to diagnose since no single test currently exists to sufficiently establish their presence. Clinical practice often revolves around a pathologist looking for changes in normal lymph node architecture and cell characteristics through a series of tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bone marrow biopsy.

"There are many types and subtypes of lymphoma, some of which are easy to detect, but many that are very difficult to identify," says Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Sbarro Institute at Temple and one of the study's principal investigators.

The researchers found that by taking a sample of blood and doing immunohistochemical analysis for the expression of CDK9 and CYCLIN T1, they were able to accurately pinpoint the type of lymphoma--Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins--as well as its stage of advancement. Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is the sixth-most common cancer in the United States.

"Basically, this new method is a very powerful tool in determining the presence of cancer by analyzing these two molecules in the lymphoid tissue," explains Giordano, an internationally recognized researcher in the genetics of cancer and gene therapy. "The change of levels of CDK9 and CYCLIN T1 in lymphoid cells shows a correlation with activity of the cancer. T
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Contact: Preston M. Moretz
pmoretz@temple.edu
215-204-7476
Temple University
1-Sep-2004


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