Defining Susceptibility To Transformation By Epigenetic Landscape
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) accounts for 90% of all acute leukemias in adults and 5% of all cancers in children. Intensive chemotherapy remains the universal treatment strategy, but the majority of patients will ultimately relapse and die from their disease. In recent estimates by the Maine Cancer Registry and the National Cancer Institute focused on the State of Maine, ~200 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed per year and more than 100 people die from complications of leukemia, clearly demonstrating that more effective treatments are needed for these patients. In this pilot grant, we propose to take the first steps toward understanding what makes certain leukemias more aggressive or more resistant to chemotherapy than others.
We are looking at this in a new way, by studying whether leukemia aggressiveness or resistance to treatment is based on the type of blood cell that the leukemia comes from. We will use this knowledge to develop personalized cancer therapy, to create new tests that will accurately predict whether a individual’s leukemia will respond to chemotherapy, and if not, to design new drugs to give to patients that will make their leukemia more susceptible to current therapy. These results will directly impact both cancer care and diagnosis in Maine.