The effect of lysine deprivation on leukaemic blood

Studies have shown that specific amino acids are required for optimal growth of leukaemic cells relative to normal cells and it is believed that depletion of selected amino acids can eliminate tumour growth. We have developed a technique for studying the effects of amino acid deprivation on leukaemia cell proliferation. The technique is based on the controlled enzymatic removal of amino acids from leukaemic blood and the subsequent measurement of the ability of cells to proliferate. The specific system being investigated is the removal of lysine from blood using immobilised L-lysine alpha-oxidase. A reactor has been designed which consists of L-lysine alpha-oxidase and catalase co-immobilised within the void space of an asymmetric hollow fibre porous region (ultrafiltration) membrane. This reactor is currently being used to treat the blood of leukaemic sheep in vitro. By varying the treatment time, the amount of immobilised enzyme and the blood flow rate, the amount of lysine removed from the blood can be varied and controlled. Preliminary data suggest that 80% depletion of lysine in leukaemic blood is sufficient to cause a significant (25%) reduction in total leucocyte count and a reduction in the proliferative capacity of leukaemic cell

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