Molecular medicine today vol:5 issue:8 pages:359-66
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is characterized by a balanced translocation that leads to the formation of the the BCR-ABL fusion gene. Although autografts can prolong the life of CML patients, patients relapse owing to malignant cells that persist in the graft and the host. This review discusses various experimental strategies that target the BCR-ABL gene or gene products that are downstream of it. Various strategies have been adopted to block BCR-ABL at the gene, mRNA and protein level. One promising strategy involves the cotransduction of a patient's hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with anti-BCR-ABL antisense sequences and a drug resistance gene. This might allow for the elimination of any residual disease in the graft or host by chemotherapy while rendering any drug-resistant, malignant CML HSCs functionally normal.