Understanding stem cells in leukaemia
Dr Marc Raaijmakers and his team at Erasmus MC in the Netherlands are working out how blood cancers develop in the bone marrow so that they can find new ways to treat the disease. Myelodysplastic syndrome is one of the most common pre-cancerous stages that can lead to the development of blood cancers (leukaemia).
The bone marrow is where new blood cells are made and within it there are many different types of cell. One in particular, called a ‘mesenchymal cell’, is thought to be one that can contribute to the development of myelodysplastic syndromes. Dr Raaijmakers wants to know more about how these cells do this and understand the molecular factors that cause it to happen. The team, including Dr Peter de Keizer, hopes that this will lead them to discover new ways to ‘reverse’ the cancer promoting environment in the bone marrow and stop blood cancer in its tracks.