A new study has identified a life-and-death signaling role for a molecule on the surface of immune cells involved in chronic leukemia. The finding could lead to more effective therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), an as yet incurable cancer that occurs in more than 16,000 Americans annually.

Led by researchers at the Ohio State University’s Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, the study examines how an experimental drug called SMIP-016 kills CLL cells. The study is published in the May issue of Cancer Cell.

“These findings open new possibilities for the use of immune-based therapy for treating CLL,” says principal investigator Dr. John Byrd, a CLL specialist and professor of Medicine, of Medicinal Chemistry and of Veterinary Biosciences.

More details in this press release from The James.