21 Apr 2023 Awareness raising
Trailblazing research project announced to exploit novel weaknesses in one of the least survivable cancers
A pioneering new study hopes to accelerate progress towards a new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in research announced today on World AML Day by Leukaemia UK.
University of Cambridge researcher, Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis, has been awarded almost £250,000 as part of Leukaemia UK’s inaugural John Goldman Fellowship Follow-up Fund award. The three-year research project focuses on AML, the most common form of acute leukaemia, which affects over 3,000 people each year in the UK.
Dr Tzelepis’ work aims to exploit one of AML’s potential weaknesses – a protein called CTU2 – to find innovative new ways to target and destroy leukaemia cells. This protein is involved in making changes to RNA – a molecule that’s present in all living cells and vital to many of the processes that happen inside them.
As surgery isn’t an option for treating AML, most patients will have intensive chemotherapy, with some offered a stem cell transplant – treatments which often come with gruelling side effects. With just 15% of patients surviving longer than five years after their diagnosis, it’s clear that more effective, kinder, targeted treatments are critically needed. This research brings hope of a future where revolutionary new treatment could stop leukaemia devastating lives.
Dr Tzelepis and his research team have already shown strong proof of concept that they are on the cusp of a new era of treatment for the disease. The researchers have previously made breakthroughs in their investigation of other RNA-changing proteins, such as METTL3, which they showed plays a key role in AML growth and survival. And thanks to research partly-funded by Leukaemia UK, they identified a drug with the potential to block it, which was given to the first patients last year as part of a cutting-edge clinical trial.
Leukaemia UK’s Follow-up Fund is a further commitment to the UK’s future blood cancer research leaders, seeking to advance our understanding and ability to treat leukaemia and other blood cancers. The award provides funding for researchers previously awarded a prestigious Leukaemia UK John Goldman Fellowship.
Dr Tzelepis hopes revealing the role of proteins like CTU2 could extend frontiers further, acting as a catalyst for future AML treatment development. The investigation will explore the protein’s involvement in how AML develops and survives, confirm its function in cancer cells versus normal blood cells and determine if it could be blocked as a way of treating this devastating type of leukaemia.
Find out more about Dr Tzelepis’ research.
29 November 2021
John Goldman Fellowship awarded to Dr Pramila Krishnamurthy
Leukaemia UK is proud to announce Dr Pramila Krishnamurthy of King’s College Hospital and King’s College London as a Leukaemia UK John Goldman Fellow co-funded by Rosetrees Trust. Dr Krishnamurthy will be using the fellowship to better understand why some leukaemia patients relapse following a stem cell transplant, and how donor lymphocyte infusion can help prevent this.
10 January 2023
Clinical trial begins for pioneering new cancer treatment
Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis was awarded a Leukaemia UK research fellowship in 2020 and has developed a new class of cancer drug with the potential to treat leukaemia.
25 May 2022
Leukaemia UK reveals new strategy to go further than ever to stop leukaemia devastating lives
Leukaemia UK has revealed a new strategy to go further than ever to save and improve more lives, through research, awareness and advocacy.
8 November 2022
Leukaemia UK announces John Goldman Fellows for 2022
Leukaemia UK has awarded their prestigious John Goldman Fellow research grants to four outstanding early-career researchers seeking to advance our understanding of and ability to treat blood cancer. Leukaemia UK…