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Taking back control of healthy blood production

Special proteins in our cells control our genes by turning them on and off. When this process goes wrong, it can cause cells to grow uncontrollably and turn cancerous. Professor Jon Frampton wants to understand more about this.

The challenge

Myeloid cells are young blood cells that go on to develop into different blood cell types. These include white blood cells that fight infection, red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, and platelets that help heal wounds. Special proteins called transcription factors can control the activity of genes by turning them on and off and are crucial to the production of the individual blood cell types. Failure to control this process can lead to many diseases, such as myelodysplastic syndromes, which affect the blood.

The project

Professor Jon Frampton and his team want to understand how this control goes wrong, in the hope of finding new ways to treat these diseases. They are focusing on a transcription factor called MYB, which is important in the development of white blood cells. The team want to know if having low levels of MYB can make people more prone to white blood cell diseases as they grow older.

The future

Their work will help develop new ways to identify people at a higher risk of developing these conditions and could open new treatment avenues for people with myeloid disease.