Research Projects

Discovery of novel targets for epigenetic and stem cell therapies

In spite of the improved treatment for childhood leukaemia, the overall prognosis for acute leukaemia in particularly in adult remains dismal. Also the majority of current leukaemia treatment is rather non-specific with significant and profound side effects. The successful development and application of specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib mesylate (Gleevec; Novartis) that targets the initiating events in chronic myeloid leukaemia has fuelled the enthusiasm of developing more specific and effective cancer therapeutics. However, targeting LATFs, in contrast to kinases in chronic haematological malignancies, by small molecule inhibitors has been proven extremely difficult, largely due to the lack of rigid structural domains. By identification of epigenetic regulators hijacked by LATFs (Arteaga et al., 2013; Cheung et al., 2007 & 2016; Esposito et al., 2015; Kwok et al., 2010; Kwok et al., 2009; Qiu et al., 2014; Zeisig et al., 2007) (see Project 2) or pathways required for survival/self-renewal of LSCs (Smith et al., 2011; Yeung et al., 2010) (see Project 3), one of our ultimate aims is to explore and validate novel avenues for development of specific therapeutic interventions to these classically non-druggable transcriptional targets.

Primary Focus:

  • To discover and validate potential therapeutic targets involved in transcriptional and epigenetic deregulation in leukaemia
  • To discover and validate potential therapeutic targets involved in self-renewal/survival of leukaemic stem cells

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