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Congratulations to Prof Jackie Boultwood and Dr Andrea Pellagatti, who have been awarded a project grant from Leuka – a leading leukaemia research charity. Their work will focus on Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML), a blood cancer with a poor prognosis and limited treatment options.

Characterization of pluripotency of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by fluorescent immunohistochemistry. © Jackie Boultwood and Andrea Pellagatti
Characterization of pluripotency of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by fluorescent immunohistochemistry.

The team aim to generate new, cell-based models of CMML, so that they can study the causes of disease and identify new treatment options. They will create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – cells that have the ability to become many different cells in the body – from the bone marrow of healthy volunteers, and from patients with CMML harbouring the specific gene mutations known to commonly co-occur in this disorder. They will then go on to use CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology to introduce common gene mutations found in CMML to generate disease models. They will use these models to tease apart the mechanisms underlying CMML, as well as using them as a platform for high throughput drug screening. Learn more about the team's research.

The research is one of two project grants awarded by Leuka in this round.

Discussing the recently funded research, Leuka Chief Executive Olive Boles said, “We are incredibly excited by the research these projects will be undertaking. With 26 people diagnosed with leukaemia each day, it is imperative that we support research that can be translated into clinical trials and treatments. Both of these projects have the potential to do just that to help improve the lives of leukaemia and blood cancer patients around the UK.”