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New findings of leukemia tumor cell signaling

PD Dr. rer. nat. Sjoerd J. L. van Wijk, PhD

The research group of PD Dr. rer. nat. Sjoerd van Wijk, group leader at the Institute of Experimental Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (Goethe-University Frankfurt and the Frankfurter Stiftung for krebskranke Kinder) has identified novel processes that underly the formation of leukemia. In collaboration with the laboratories of Prof. Dr. Petra Beli (Institute for Molecular Biology, Mainz) and Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller (Institute of Biochemistry II, Goethe University Frankfurt), the group of van Wijk discovered novel pathways and mechanisms how the protein USP22 regulates acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a subgroup of acute myelocytic leukemia (AML). USP22 regulates the stability of the pro-tumorigenic protein PML-RARα, the driving oncogenic force behind APL, and regulates responses to anti-tumor interferons (secreted signaling molecules).

Loss of USP22 increased the sensitivity to the APL therapeutic ATRA, identifying USP22 inhibition as promising optimization strategy of clinical treatment protocols. The results of the study have been published in the renowned journal Cell Death Discovery (link: and provide important novel insights in tumor signaling and the development of novel strategies for the treatment of acute leukemias.



PD Dr. rer. nat. Sjoerd J. L. van Wijk, PhD

Institute of Experimental Pediatric Hematology and Oncology

Phone: 069 67866576




Western blot image of the effects of USP22 on PML-RARα stability in human APL cells. (Image credit: Dr. rer. nat. Lisa Kowald (AG van Wijk))


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