Wake up those genes!!!

Thanks to a comment left by Joao on my previous post, I was able to read a rather exciting bit of news this morning. In a nutshell, a team of Swedish/Belgian researchers has identified, and made a list of!, a group of genes that are “silenced” in myeloma cells but NOT in normal plasma cells. This “silencing” process, which is carried out by a group of proteins called Polycomb repressors or PcGs, may have a lot to do with the uncontrolled growth and “self-renewal” of myeloma cells. More testing and research are needed, of course, but I already consider this a verrrrry important discovery (…incidentally, here is the link to the Science Daily article: http://tinyurl.com/37mbzw5).

The full study is available for free online (oh, I do love freebies!): http://tinyurl.com/3y8errz All you have to do is click on “Download PDF.” The study is VERY technical: now you can’t say I didn’t warn you!!! Since, as you know from my previous post, Florence and the rest of Italy are smack in the middle of a horrendous heatwave, I didn’t and don’t have the energy to read the whole shebang in one sitting, but here are a few interesting excerpts I took from the Discussion part of the study:

1. The silenced genes were found also in MGUS, which means that this “shutting up” process might be an early event during MM development.

2. The “silencing” was also more pronounced in the advanced stages (ISS stage III compared to stage II and I) of MM progression. Huge implications, here…

I need to read this study in full and pay particular attention to the part discussing the similarity between cancer and stem cells. As you know, I am a strong supporter of the myeloma stem cell theory…This study suggests, however, that myeloma stem cells (a small subpopulation of clonogenic CD138 negative B cells) probably do not have an impact on the underexpressed gene profile, when analyzing the tumor bulk. And this profile seems to be a general feature shared by a large proportion of the MM cells

Okay, I cannot wrap my brain around this interesting bit of information just yet…I must stop here. I must say, though, that this is one of the most thought-provoking studies to have landed on my desktop in recent times…no question about that…


  1. Thank you for providing your information…..it is encouraging to all of us. Stay cool….we are in the middle of a heat wave in Pa. also….God’s Blessings to you!

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