Waking up the sleeping ALL cells that cause treatment resistance

Lead researcher - Dr Bela Wrench, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
Unravelling mechanisms of tumour dormancy in adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
Amount awarded: £734,587
Award start date: 01 Oct 2015
Award duration: 3 years (36 months)

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in adults is an incurable tumour in the majority of patients. Although many patients respond to initial treatment disease relapse occurs frequently. This project seeks to investigate why adults with ALL relapse so often. We think there are dormant/non growing tumour cells which can resist chemotherapy treatment and cause late cancer recurrence. If we can characterise these dormant cells and work out how they remain in a switched off state then we may be able to reverse this process forcing dormant cells into an active state thereby increasing their susceptibility to treatment.