30 Apr 2014

Leukaemia Foundation poster prizes for ACBD researchers

Drs Nhu-Y Nguyen and Cedric
Tremblay. Photo: Bonnie Dopheide
At the recent New Directions in Leukaemia Research (NDLR) conference held in Noosa, Dr Nhu-Y Nguyen and Dr Cedric Tremblay, both Research Officers in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, each received a Leukaemia Foundation Poster Prize, worth $1000. With close to 200 attendees, this niche meeting discussed new strategies for treating leukaemia and other blood-related cancers.Their research respectively investigates different cancers and different strategies for controlling cancer cell activity.
Cedric's topic was "Heterozygous Dynamin 2 mutation collaborates with LMO2 to expand IL-7 responsive leukemic stem cells in T-ALL". Mutations of the gene Dynamin 2 (DNM2) have been found in a subtype of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) associated with poor response to treatment. Our recent work suggests that these mutations are accelerating the development of leukemia induced by the oncogene LMO2. In fact, the DNM2 mutations are associated with increased cell signalling, which stimulates the expansion of chemotherapy-resistant cells in the tumour. The increased cell signaling observed in leukemic cells with DNM2 mutations could be targeted in new therapeutic strategies to cure T-ALL.

Nhu-Y's topic was "Targeting multiple Bcl-2 pro-survival proteins via the pro-apoptotic BH3-only protein Bim leads to abrogation of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia".
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive blood cancer with poor long-term survival. It is becoming increasingly clear that in relapse patients, the normal processes of programmed cell death (known as apoptosis) are disrupted allowing the cancer cells to survive. Our recent work shows that by targeting certain proteins involved in apoptosis, we can effectively kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells. These studies could help design new therapies to treat AML.
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