Targeting ULK1 in cancer stem cells: insight from chronic myeloid leukemia

Ianniciello, A. and Helgason, G. V. (2022) Targeting ULK1 in cancer stem cells: insight from chronic myeloid leukemia. Autophagy, 18(7), pp. 1734-1736. (doi: 10.1080/15548627.2022.2041152) (PMID:35227175) (PMCID:PMC9298457)

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Minimal residual disease (MRD) refers to a low number of cells that persist anti-cancer treatment and is the major cause of relapse in solid cancers and leukemias. In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a paradigm for stem cell-driven cancer, MRD is maintained by tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-insensitive leukemic stem cells (LSCs), which may rely on fundamental metabolic processes to resist drug treatment. Macroautophagy/autophagy is a cytoprotective process that has been highlighted as critical for sustaining LSC survival during TKI treatment in robust experimental models of CML. Our recent study shows that the autophagy-initiating kinase ULK1 is required for maintaining energy and redox balance in CML LSCs. Pharmacological inhibition of ULK1 results in stress-induced differentiation of LSCs, rendering them sensitive to TKI treatment, uncovering a promising strategy for selective eradication of LSCs in CML patients.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Helgason, Professor Vignir and Ianniciello, Ms Angela
Authors: Ianniciello, A., and Helgason, G. V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Autophagy
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1554-8635
Published Online:01 March 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Autophagy 18(7): 1734-1736
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
307077Targeting Autophagy and Aberrant Metabolism of Leukaemic Stem CellsVignir HelgasonCancer Research UK (CRUK)C57352/A29754CS -Translational Research Centre