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

Researcher
Professor Pieter Van Vlierberghe
Project period
Jun 2016 - May 2019
Country
Research Institute
Ghent University
Cancer types
Leukemia
Professor Pieter Van Vlierberghe

Aim of the research

Professor Van Vlierberghe aims to investigate in detail how certain cells, called pre-leukaemic stem cells, develop and can lead to a more aggressive form of leukaemia. Gaining a basic understanding of this process paves the way for finding a way to possibly prevent this transition or find targeted treatments.

Meet the scientist

Pieter van Vlierberghe is a professor at Ghent university, where he is trying to understand the mechanism by which certain immune cells turn into cancer cells and how this could help to develop potential treatments.

More about the research project

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.

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.
Professor Van Vlierberghe