Identifying new treatment strategies for leukaemia and lymphoma

Lead researcher - Professor Michelle West, University of Sussex
Analysis of PU.1 transcription control in leukaemia and lymphoma: towards new therapeutic strategies
Amount awarded: £222,058
Award start date: 01 Dec 2015
Award duration: 3 years (36 months)

Tight control over which genes are switched on and off in white blood cells is crucial to control their growth. When this gene control is disrupted it can give rise to permanently dividing cells that develop into leukaemia or lymphoma.

Professor West, Dr Mancini and their team at the University of Sussex are looking at how the proteins that control genes in white blood cells work in healthy cells and how this may be altered in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The team are also investigating how gene control is altered in white blood cells by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and how this can lead to the development of Burkitt, Hodgkin and diffuse large B cell lymphoma.

They are focusing on a number of proteins, including PU.1 and RUNX1, which often work together to control which genes are switched on and off in white blood cells.

The team want to know more about how PU.1 and RUNX1 work together to control genes, and how genetic changes in RUNX1 in AML affect this.

They also want to find out how EBV hijacks PU.1 and other proteins in white blood cells, leading them to divide permanently. Their aim is to find out new information that may be helpful for the development of new blood cancer treatments.