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Understanding how MPN develops

In this project, Professor Hitchcock wants to understand more about how MPN develops.

Headshot of Professor Ian Hitchcock smiling at the camera

Professor Ian Hitchcock


The challenge

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) is a type of blood cancer that affects around 4,000 people every year in the UK. But we still don’t know enough about how MPN develops and the drugs we have to treat the disease aren’t very effective.

The project

In this project, Professor Hitchcock and his team want to understand more about how blood cells communicate. He has found a molecule that sits on the surface of a blood cell that he thinks turns on a process that leads to MPN and allows cells to turn cancerous. In this project, they want to understand more about this, and more about how MPN develops, to find out whether there might be a way to stop it from happening.

The future

The hope is that by understanding more about how MPN develops, the team might identify new targets for treatments and new ways to diagnose the disease. This could lead to new and effective ways of treating the disease in the future.

What our community think

“This research, while on paper is restricted to MPNs, is very important to understanding the development of other blood cancers by gaining an understanding of cell communication. The output from this research is very likely to be transferable to other blood cancers and indeed other conditions. Not only will this research identify how blood cancers develop; but will likely be able to identify who may be at risk or the trigger points for the blood cancer developing.”

Patient Voice Grant Advisory Network Member, living with CML