A gene that controls development of blood cells, known as C/EBPe, has been isolated.
This gene may be one of the master switches that allow white blood cells to develop. When the C/EBPe gene is removed in mice, the animals develop preleukemia and infections because certain proteins are suppressed.
Our researchers have recently identified this gene as the one that is turned on by retinoic acid in the treatment of acute leukemia. Retinoic acid puts these patients into complete remission.