Method of increasing chemotherapy sensitivity in leukemia using BET inhibitor

Tech ID: T-019486

Technology Description

Researchers in Robi Mitra’s lab at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a method to increase the sensitivity of leukemias to chemotherapy by pre-treatment with a BET inhibitor. BET inhibitors convert stem-like leukemia cells to a more differentiated state that is more susceptible to standard chemotherapeutics like imatinib. As the persistence of these stem-like leukemia cells frequently drives chemotherapy resistance, pre-treatment with BET inhibitors would increase the efficacy of overall treatment.

Pre-treatment with JQ1 (BET inhibitor) decreases fraction of CD24hi and increases efficacy of imatinib treatment

Stage of Research

The inventors showed that pre-treatment of leukemia cells in vitro with a BET inhibitor (JQ1) reduced the number of cells in a stem-like state (CD24hi) and increased the potency of standard chemotherapeutic drugs like imatinib. They are following up on the initial proof-of-concept work with in vivo mouse studies.



  • Treatment of leukemias in children and adults
  • Potentially applicable to other cancers where the stem-like cell state is more resistant to chemotherapeutics

Key Advantages

  • Increased efficacy of chemotherapies
  • Utilizes existing drug classes

Patents: Pending

Related Web Links: Mitra Profile & Lab




Richards, Jennifer

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