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Understanding how CML turns into an aggressive disease

In some cases, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) can develop into an aggressive disease which can be difficult to treat. Dr Gillian Horne wants to understand more about this to work out how we can treat the disease when it becomes more aggressive.

The challenge

Chronic myeloma leukaemia (CML) is as a slow growing cancer of white blood cells. This type of blood cancer is monitored over time, and may need treatment to keep it under control. Sometimes however, CML can develop into a fast growing type of blood cancer which makes it much more difficult to treat.

The project

We need to create new treatments for when CML becomes more aggressive. Dr Gillian Horne and her team first want to understand what triggers the disease to become more aggressive and will then look for targets that could be used to develop drugs to treat the disease.

Dr Horne will look at differences in genes turned on and turned off when CML is in it’s slow growing phase and fast growing phase and will see whether it’s possible to ‘turn off’ any genes that cause the cancer to become more aggressive.

The future

The hope is that this research could find new targets to treat CML when it progresses to a fast growing blood cancer which could help us treat the disease in the future.