Scientists explore genetic roots of rare blood cancer

Golam Mohi, PhD

Scientists at Upstate have made progress in understanding the cause of a rare blood cancer called myelofibrosis, and they hope to learn how to block the disease’s progression.

Professor of pharmacology Golam Mohi, PhD, has been studying the life-threatening disorder, in which a defect in the bone marrow leads to overproduction or underproduction of various blood cells. Patients may suffer severe anemia, weakness and fatigue and get progressively worse. Some develop a more serious form of leukemia.

Mohi and graduate student Yue Yang and colleagues recently wrote about their laboratory research in the journal Blood. They focused on a gene mutation (called JAK2V617F) that is linked to myelofibrosis and two similar blood cancers. They found that loss of a particular gene (called EZH2) cooperates with the mutation in the development of myelofibrosis.

“It is imperative to better understand the cause of the disease, so that more targeted therapies can be developed to help manage the disease, and optimally, to prevent the disease from progressing,” Mohi says.

Work in his laboratory continues.

This article appears in the winter 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine

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