Developing smarter and kinder treatments for AML
Abnormal gene expression is a common feature and plays an important role in human acute leukaemia. Emerging evidence indicates that a novel class of proteins called histone modification enzymes is required for these aberrant gene expressions. Since histone modification enzymes have well-defined structures that can be therapeutically targeted by the currently available drug development technologies such as small molecule inhibitor approaches, identification of their critical function in acute leukaemia gives renewed hope for developing effective cancer therapeutics. However, this is a relative new and unexplored area in spite of its great potentials to lead to major therapeutic breakthroughs. Thus the proposed research programme aims to systematically define the role of individual histone modification enzymes for mediating the initiation and maintenance of leukaemia as well as drug responses. The research will provide new knowledge about the biology of leukaemia that will facilitate the development of more effective but less toxic anti-leukaemia therapies.