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The BHF Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) at the University of Oxford has been awarded £6m by the British Heart Foundation to continue its world leading research into cardiovascular disease. Prof Hugh Watkins is Director of the Centre, which involves 48 research groups, whose research spans diverse areas and covers the translational research spectrum, from basic to clinical research.
Our group is interested in developing novel immunotherapeutic approaches for leukaemia. Clinical approaches currently used include allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors. While each of these approaches can be successful, they also fail in many patients as a result of tumour adaptations or diminished function of immune cells. Enhanced immunity can also lead to immune-related adverse events due to on- or off-target effects. We are exploring the mechanisms that underpin these failures and using this information to devise new strategies that can be translated into early phase clinical trials.
My lab is interested in understanding how the genome functions and leveraging this to develop genome editing strategies to treat human disease.
Our work has shown that metabolism both generalized and intrinsic to blood stem cells unleashes reactive metabolites such as the aldehydes – formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.