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Investigating the role of stem cells in leukaemia in order to develop more effective treatments

  • Researcher: Professor Pieter Van Vlierberghe
  • Institution: Ghent University, Belgium
  • Award Amount: £222,000 for 3 years from 1st June 2016
  • Cancer Type: Leukaemia
Investigating the role of stem cells in leukaemia in order to develop more effective treatments
Professor Van Vlierberghe is investigating in detail how pre-leukaemic stem cells develop and can lead to a more aggressive form of leukaemia.

Pre-leukemic stem cells are the very first blood cells which can ultimately lead to leukaemia. They are also more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, so scientists suspect that the presence of these cells in a patient’s cancer might lead to more aggressive forms of the disease, or cancer which relapses following treatment.

But scientists don’t yet know exactly how pre-leukaemic stem cells develop. That’s why in this project Professor Van Vlierberghe aims to better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms which control these cells and their ability to divide continuously.

“We hope the findings from this study will ultimately help us to develop more effective targeted therapies for the treatment of aggressive subtypes of human leukaemia,” says Professor Van Vlierberghe.
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