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April 17, 2013

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Lymphoma discovery made by local labs

RESEARCHERS at the Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University announced that they have discovered a major "switch'' that may regulate lymphoma, potentially leading to earlier diagnosis and new drugs.

Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in white blood cells. They move through the body's lymphatic system.

Lymphoma is difficult to detect, develops quickly and has a high mortality rate. About 90 percent of patients are in the terminal stage when the cancer is found. The five-year survival rate is below 2 percent.

The discovery was published in yesterday's editions of Cancer Cell.

The key is an enzyme that produces lactate that normally supplements the body's energy.

When the enzyme level rises, a large amount of lactate is produced and flows out of cells to create an ideal environment for a tumor to grow, experts said.

Fudan researchers spent three years studying enzyme level changes. They found a protein modification that is a "switch" for the enzyme.

"This discovery can be developed into effective diagnostic reagents for early stages of lymphoma and even targeted drugs to treat lymphoma," said Lei Qunying, the leading researcher.


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