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Group: Cancer Stem Cell group
Cancer Stem Cells and Haematopoietic Stem Cell Therapy, including studying the characteristics of leukaemia cells to increase our understanding of the differences between stem cells that can initiate leukaemia and haemopoietic stem cells that produce normal blood cells; developing new therapeutic strategies targeted at leukaemia stem cells; ex vivo expansion of normal blood stem cells to produce therapeutic quantities of red blood cells, platelets and neutrophils for use in transfusion and transplantation.
Our research is focused on the biology of childhood leukaemia and on ex vivo expansion of haemopoietic stem cells for therapeutic use.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the most common paediatric cancer with survival rates of 80-85%. However, a significant proportion of patients relapse (~20-25%). Around half of acute leukaemia cases that relapse undergo more intensive therapy involving stem cell transplantation. Unfortunately, for some patients the transplants are ineffective, often due to insufficient numbers of stem cells in the transplanted material. Our research aims to better understand how leukaemia progresses and to develop improved treatment methods for this disease.
In addition to treating patients with haematological malignancies, stem cells from blood can be used to treat disorders such as sickle cell disease and β thalassaemia. Expanding the number of stem cells can be very useful for cord blood cell transplantation, where stem cell numbers are low and this limits their use to paediatric recipients. It is also possible to direct the stem cells to mature into specific blood cells, such as red blood cells. The cultured blood cells provide a younger source of cells for patients with sickle cell disease and β thalassaemia who require regular blood transfusions.
Specific research areas
- Characterisation of leukaemia initiating cell populations in childhood leukaemias.
- Development of new therapeutic strategies targeted at leukaemia initiating cells and improvement of disease monitoring throughout the course of treatment
- Ex-vivo expansion of haemopoietic cells to produce improved therapeutic products for patients who require a haemopoietic stem cell transplant.
- Assess funtion and survival of cultured haemopoietic cells as a resource for patients that depend on regular transfusions and those with rare blood groups.
University of Bristol positions
Principal Clinical ScientistSchool of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Managing organisational unitSchool of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
03/12/2018 to 29/02/2020
British Journal of Haematology
DNA damage signalling from the placenta to foetal blood as a potential mechanism for childhood leukaemia initiation
Inhibition of GATA2 restrains cell proliferation and enhances apoptosis and chemotherapy mediated apoptosis in human GATA2 overexpressing AML cells
Biodegradable, Drug-Loaded Nanovectors via Direct Hydration as a New Platform for Cancer Therapeutics