Recently MEIS1 emerged as a major determinant of the MLL-r leukemic phenotype. The latest and most efficient drugs effectively decrease the levels of MEIS1 in cancer cells. Together with an overview of the latest drugs developed to target MEIS1 in MLL-r leukemia, we review, in detail, the role of MEIS1 in embryonic and adult hematopoiesis and suggest how a more profound knowledge of MEIS1 biochemistry can be used to design potent and effective drugs against MLL-r leukemia. In addition, we present data showing that the interaction between MEIS1 and PBX1 can be blocked efficiently and might represent a new avenue in anti-MLL-r and anti-leukemic therapy.
Keywords: MEIS1; MLL-r; PBX1; interaction surface; leukemia.