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Identifying the driving forces behind myelofibrosis

Professor Adam Mead wants to find a new way to tackle myelofibrosis. They are studying a specific gene that they think might be responsible for the disease.

The challenge

Myelofibrosis is a condition where the body can no longer produce any type of blood cell. Around 1 in 5 people with myelofibrosis will go on to develop acute myeloid leukaemia, one of the deadliest types of blood cancer. Currently treatments only deal with the symptoms of myelofibrosis rather than the cause of the problem.

The project

Professor Mead and his team want to find better ways to tackle this disease. To do so, they are exploring how an error in a gene called JAK2 triggers myelofibrosis. The gene change leads to changes in a group of bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes. It is these abnormal megakaryocytes which case bone marrow destruction. The team will examine thousands of individual megakaryocytes to determine what changes in these cells are most harmful to bone marrow.

The future

If successful, Professor Mead’s work could help create new treatments that improve the bone marrow's ability to create healthy blood cells, improving survival for people with myelofibrosis.