The survival rate of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is poor, and more research is urgently needed to improve the prognosis for AML patients.

It is now accepted that there are rare cells within the cancer called leukaemia stem cells (LSCs) that are responsible for the progression of AML within the body.

Dr Huang’s team have already identified a group of proteins including EPC1 and EPC2, which are required for LSCs to function, but are much less important to normal, healthy blood cells. The team’s research now aims to further understand these critical proteins and identify how LSCs interact with other proteins to keep the leukaemia cells functioning. They hope to better understand just how essential these molecules are to the growth of AML.

Their research will provide a better understanding of LSCs behaviour and form the basis for developing innovative new drugs for use in future AML cancer treatment.

The personal stories I hear from leukaemia and blood cancer patients keeps me going. They are the inspiration behind my research.

Dr Xu Huang