Taking back control of healthy blood production
Myeloid cells are young blood cells that go on to develop into different blood cell types. These include white blood cells that fight infection, red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, and platelets that help heal wounds. Proteins called ‘transcription factors’ can control the activity of genes by turning them on and off, and are crucial to the production of the individual blood cell types.
Failure to maintain a tight control over blood production can lead to diseases such as anaemia, leukaemia, myelofibrosis, myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Understanding how this control goes wrong could lead to new ways to target these diseases.
Professor Jon Frampton and his team at the University of Birmingham are focusing on a transcription factor called MYB, which is important in the development of white blood cells. The team want to know if having low levels of MYB can make people more prone to white blood cell diseases as they grow older.
If successful, their work will help develop new ways to screen people for susceptibility to these conditions and could open new treatment avenues for people with myeloid disease.