Leukaemic Stem Cell Biology
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) form a distinct population of tumour cells that self-renew and drive cancer formation. Because CSCs are difficult to eradicate using currently available treatment regimens they are responsible for therapeutic resistance in cancer patients. It is therefore of paramount importance to understand how CSCs are generated, why they are treatment-resistant and what pathways they use to self-renew and fuel the disease. Our aim is to address these fundamental questions to provide novel therapeutic targets for CSC eradication.
The haemopoietic system provides a unique tractable model for investigating how normal cell functions are corrupted by oncogenes to cause cancers. Leukaemic stem cells (LSCs) serve as a paradigm for understanding of CSC biology and cellular hierarchies in multiple cancers. How normal primitive haemopoietic cells undergo leukaemic transformation and give rise to LSCs is not entirely understood. While emerging evidence indicates essential roles for hypoxia signalling pathways in LSCs, the detailed mechanisms through which these pathways function during the development and maintenance of LSCs remain unknown.
We aim to systematically investigate the significance of hypoxia signalling at different stages of leukaemogenesis, identify novel therapeutic targets for LSC eradication and validate their therapeutic potential thus providing the framework for clinical trials. We hope that by exploiting the strengths of LSCs as a model system our studies will reveal important common mechanisms operating in CSCs.
Principal Investigator, CRUK Senior Cancer Research Fellow and Professor of Molecular Haematology
|Lewis Allen||Lab manager|
|Hannah Lawson||PhD Student|
|Christine Young||Postdoc (in collaboration with Maria Christophorou)|
|Jasmin Paris||ECAT Clinical lecturer|
|Catarina Martins Costa||Erasmus Student|
Haematopoietic stem cell biology, leukaemia biology, cancer stem cells, hypoxia biology
Stem cell transplantation, mouse genetics, mouse models of leukaemia, multicolour flow cytometry