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Genetic changes in leukaemia

  • Researcher: Dr Eunhee Kim
  • Institution: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA
  • Award Amount: £200,000 for 2 years from January 2015
  • Cancer Type: Leukaemia
Genetic changes in leukaemia
Dr Kim is investigating how genetic changes in blood cells can cause blood cancers such as leukaemia. She is particularly interested in genetic faults which affect how cells produce and process RNA, the precursor molecule to DNA.“Very recently, scientists have discovered that the blood cells of patients with certain types of leukemia often have mutations in genes which control RNA splicing,” explains Dr Kim. “This is the process where RNA molecules are shortened and made ready for conversion into proteins.” Dr Kim wants to find out more about one specific molecule, called SRSF2, which is involved in RNA splicing and is known to be faulty in patients with more aggressive forms of leukaemia. “In this project, we will study patient and mouse cells in detail. We want to focus our efforts on understanding how mutations in SRSF2 cause a class of leukaemia known as myeloid malignancies, and how we can treat the cancers caused by these mutations." “To me, this project is really exciting because uncovering how SRSF2 mutations drive myeloid malignancies may give rise to opportunities to target RNA splicing as a new therapeutic approach for leukaemia,” says Dr Kim.
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