22 May 2023 Research
Can the unique differences between stem cells tell us how well CML treatment will work?
What if we could predict how chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patients will respond to treatment? Could the unique signatures of CML stem cells hold the key to personalising treatment for patients and ultimately improve and save lives?
Leukaemia UK is delighted to announce a project grant award of almost £250,000 to University of Glasgow researcher, Professor David Vetrie, for his research into CML.
Professor Vetrie and his research team have already revealed the huge variety of differences between some of the vital cells driving CML growth and development – CML stem cells. This study aims to establish the significance of this variation and understand whether this could help predict treatment success.
Around 830 people are diagnosed with CML each year in the UK. The current standard treatment for the disease is very effective at controlling the disease and has been transformative for patients, but doesn’t kill the faulty cancer stem cells, meaning CML can come back if treatment is stopped.
During the three-year research project, Professor Vetrie will investigate these faulty stem cells in detail to guide the development of tests aiming to predict how well treatment will work. This could revolutionize how treatment decisions are made – meaning every patient has a more personalised approached to their treatment and care.
The researchers anticipate that this type of personalised medicine for CML patients could be adopted as standard within 10 years to enhance patient quality of life, increase the number of patients who are in treatment-free remission and ultimately save lives.
Professor David Vetrie said:
“Leukaemia stem cells trigger and sustain chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). For many years, we believed these cells were all similar but we now know they exist as a variety of types in the bone marrow of every CML patient. Our research will uncover which types are critical for maintaining the disease and determining how well a patient responds to tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib. This work could be a game-changer for optimising patient care.”
Find out more about Professor Vetrie’s research
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