Mapping gene changes in ALL
A change in a gene called BCR-ABL can initiate the development of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. However, other changes happen which cause the disease to develop fully. Dr Feldahn wants to understand more about this process.
Some types of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) are initiated by a change in a gene called BCR-ABL1. This change can cause cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and can cause cells to resist death, meaning cells survive for longer. Whilst this gene change can start the development of this type of leukaemia, other events then happen which cause the disease to develop fully.
Recent research by Dr Niklas Feldhahn has shown that a change in the BRC-ABL gene, acts like a ‘switch’, causing other genes to become active when they shouldn’t be. Dr Feldhahn wants to develop a map of these gene changes that happen following a change in BCR-ABL in order to gain a better understanding of what drives the development of ALL. They will also study whether intervening at different locations on the map could destroy leukaemia cells.
The hope is that this research will provide the basis to develop treatments in the future for people with ALL who have a change in the BCR-ABL gene.