Therapeutic targeting transcriptional addiction in paediatric leukaemias

Prof Johnstone funded to research therapeutic targeting transcriptional addiction in childhood leukaemias
Prof Johnstone funded to research therapeutic targeting transcriptional addiction in childhood leukaemias

Recipient: Professor Ricky Johnstone
Institute: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Funding: $496,282 July 2016 to June 2020

Specific therapies will improve chances of survival for children with low prognosis leukaemias.

Significant improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and overall disease management have greatly enhanced the outcome for children suffering from leukaemia. However, despite this important progress, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and subsets of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) remain characterised by poor prognosis. In these cases, current chemotherapy treatment regimens fail to completely eradicate the cancer, resulting in relapse, therapy resistance and disease progression.

This project led by Professor Ricky Johnstone looks at a set of genetic changes specific to low prognosis leukaemia patients that may be exploited to improve treatment.

These genetic changes drive cancer progression and therefore promote resistance to current therapy. However, thanks to advances in research, it’s now possible to target these genes and turn the cancer’s strength into weakness. By developing novel, more specific therapies, it will be possible to improve chances of survival for children with low prognosis leukaemias.