The Dutch Cancer Society awards 615,000 Euro to the de Haan lab at ERIBA to find new treatments for leukemia.
Leukemia remains a disease that is difficult to treat. Leukemias occur more frequently in the elderly, which adds to the complexity of treatment options due to the vulnerability of elderly patients to cytotoxic therapies. As the average life expectancy continues to increase, so will the number of elderly patients with leukemia and treatment-related side effects. Leukemias are propagated by clones of self-renewing leukemic stem cells. In this project we will investigate how CBX7, a protein known to be involved in epigenetic control, induces self-renewal in leukemic stem cells. We have previously shown that inhibition of CBX7 induces terminal differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells. In the current project, we will identify novel CBX7 protein interactions partners, and assess whether inhibition of CBX7 protein interactions intervene in leukemic stem cell self-renewal. Furthermore, we will test whether CBX7 inhibitors can be used to eradicate leukemic stem cells by inducing their terminal differentiation, and determine the molecular mechanism by which these inhibitors, alone or in combination, operate. Our project may provide novel therapeutic strategies to treat leukemia.
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