Dr Kostas Tzelepis, University of Cambridge and John Goldman Fellow 2020 

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive type of blood cancer. Despite scientific progress in understanding how this cancer develops, the mainstream therapies for AML have remained unchanged for decades. Dr Tzelepis's research has promising clinical potential to develop new therapeutic options, giving hope to patients with AML and other types of cancer.

What is this research looking at?

There is an urgent need for new more effective therapies for AML. Dr Tzelepis recently established a powerful genetic screening method for identifying weaknesses in AML cells which can be used as therapeutic targets. The screening method identified a new set of leukaemia-essential genes which appear to function by modifying the AML cells’ RNA.  Dr Tzelepis's initial studies with one such gene, METTL3, have shown that it is essential for AML cell survival, but not for normal blood formation making it a good treatment target. Dr Tzelepis proposes to extend his studies to the newly-developed METTL3 inhibitor in order to improve his understanding of how this protein helps sustain AML cells and thereby helping develop new treatments for AML.

This project aims to provide strong proof of principle that a brand-new class of therapeutics, the RNA methyltransferase inhibitors, could block aggressive types of haematological malignancies including AML. 

Official project title

Exploring the pharmacological inhibition of the m6A writer METTL3 as a novel therapeutic option for myeloid leukaemogenesis

About Dr Tzelepis

Dr Tzelepis has been involved in haematology research since 2013 and is passionate about finding more effective therapies for aggressive forms of cancer such as AML.

Dr Tzelepis's career highlight to date has been the development of pioneer CRISPR technologies during his PhD, which transformed his thinking and the way he identifies and prioritises new therapeutic targets for AML. His ground-breaking work on this continues. 

Being awarded a John Goldman Fellowship is pivotal for Dr Tzelepis's future career plans and ambitions. He believes this funding will not only provide the best support and recognition inside and outside UK, but also paves the way for the completion of significant translational and clinical efforts that will potentially help many people with haematological malignancies.

We are able to fund vital research such as Dr Tzelepis's project only thanks to the generosity of our supporters. 

With blood cancer being the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, we strive to find better treatments and care to make a difference to those affected by leukaemia and other blood cancers.

Find out more about our other ground-breaking research and care projects

Read about our prestigious John Goldman Fellowships

Donate now to help us make a difference