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NLA funded researchers at University of Nottingham develop a new way to test anti-leukaemia drugs

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Research - April 2023

The group, led by Dr Alex Thompson, used protein building blocks to generate a gel structure with similar properties to bone marrow that allowed 3-dimensional examination of leukaemia cells. The researchers showed that drugs previously approved for use in other settings, including an antibiotic and an anti-cholesterol, were able to pass through the gel and kill leukaemia cells. Getting drugs to where leukaemia cells hide in the body, without damaging normal cells along the way, is a major challenge in developing better and gentler treatments. Generating a biological gel that mimics the bone marrow will help select for potent, targeted drugs with reduced side effects compared to current treatments. The authors wish to thank the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal for the support which underpinned this research and thank all those who have donated to the appeal in any way. If anyone would like more information, please contact Dr Thompson at: or contact the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal.

Dr Thompson said that “The use of such biological gel systems may better represent human leukaemia, and in time reduce or replace drug testing in animals ”

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