Looking for new ways to improve current leukaemia treatments

Lead researcher - Professor Anthony Whetton, University of Manchester
Application of advanced protein technologies to identify common treatment targets for myeloid leukaemias
Amount awarded: £1,796,347
Award start date: 01 Jun 2013
Award duration: 6 years (74 months)

Leukaemia is a cancer which occurs when changes happen to the genes of cells that produce blood cells. Some of the genes that are affected make proteins called tyrosine kinases, which tell the cell to grow. In cancer, these proteins are often changed, so the cell becomes out of control.

There are drugs which can target these faulty proteins. These drugs are used to treat slow growing leukaemias like chronic myeloid leukaemia very successfully. But some people stop responding to these drugs or are unable to withstand the side effects, and these drugs do not cure the disease.

That’s why, in an earlier research project, lead researcher Professor Whetton and his team at the University of Manchester wanted to find new ways to treat leukaemia by looking at what other proteins in the cell are affected by tyrosine kinases.

With this knowledge, the researchers want to see if they can target these proteins, creating new ways of treating leukaemia. They hope this will be an improvement on current treatments.