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University of Basel

17 July 2019

Leukemia: how cancer stem cells suppress a danger detector

Natural killer cells (red) attack normal leukemia cells (green) but not leukemia stem cells (blue). This is because the latter use stem cell-specific mechanisms to suppress the expression of key recognition proteins (NKG2D ligands) on the cell surface. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, Christoph Schürch)
Natural killer cells (red) attack normal leukemia cells (green) but not leukemia stem cells (blue). This is because the latter use stem cell-specific mechanisms to suppress the expression of key recognition proteins (NKG2D ligands) on the cell surface. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, Christoph Schürch)

Acute myeloid leukemia stem cells elude the body’s immune cells by deactivating a danger detector. The underlying mechanisms and the potential new therapeutic approaches that this gives rise to have been detailed in the journal Nature by researchers from the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel in collaboration with colleagues in Germany.

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