How do developmentally regulated changes in human lymphoid development initiate and propagate treatment-resistant childhood leukaemia?


  • Dr Anindita Roy

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Our blood cells are continuously replenished by a process called haematopoiesis which starts before birth. There is growing evidence that many childhood leukaemias start to develop before birth. Those that develop before the child’s first birthday are called infant leukaemia and are usually associated with the rearrangement of a gene called MLL. Although it is now possible to cure 90% of cases of the most common type of childhood leukaemia, only 50% of cases that develop in infancy can be cured. A much better understanding of the biology of treatment-resistant leukaemia is needed.

I will investigate the cells that undergo transformation in infant and childhood leukaemia to see how they differ from those in adults. I will develop a model of infant leukaemia by inserting the abnormal MLL gene into normal cells. 

The model of infant leukaemia could be used to understand the pathways that drive this aggressive disease and test new drugs to treat it.