Steven D. Mittelman, M.D., Ph.D.

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Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Overcoming L-Asparaginase Resistance Caused by Adipocyte Production of Glutamine

Overweight leukemia patients are harder to cure than thin patients. We found that an important chemotherapy, L-asparaginase, does not work as well in overweight mice compared to thin mice. Fat cells produce glutamine, which we think may help leukemia cells resist this important medicine. We will therefore see how much glutamine fat cells make in mice and in children, with and without L-asparaginase treatment. We will also test whether another form of L-asparaginase that breaks down more glutamine might work better in overweight children with leukemia. These studies could lead to improved leukemia treatments in both overweight and lean children.