This research aims at identifying early events in blood cancer development. It focusses on cells that do not massively grow to form tumours, but rather stay inactive and thereby evade treatment. These cells are believed to be responsible for relapses of blood cancer after treatments.
Our focus on inactive “precursor” cancer cells could find explanations of how blood cancer develops. Thus it offers the opportunity to tackle the disease in it’s earliest steps. Finding therapy against these early steps can help us to prevent blood cancer from developing in the first place.
In our group we are generally working with stem cells that can be made into blood cells. On the background of this we have generated a model cell line, which additionally can be activated to become a blood cancer precursor cells. This is achieved by a genetic manipulation, which is identical to the genetic cause in many patients. Currently we are looking at the differences between normal blood and blood cancer cells. Ultimately, we are looking to find therapy options, which specifically target the inactive blood cancer cells.
Swirler bodies in a culture flask. These are little blood shedding spheres made up of different cells.
Dr. Floyd Hassenrück, Katerina Terolli, Andrew Elefanty, Blood development, MCRI