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Report from Betty Barton PhD student Lara

Research - 2022

I have spent the last few months using an immortalised leukaemia cell line enriched for dormancy to screen FDA-approved drugs that are predicted to target dormant leukaemia cells. The aim of this work was to see if they can drive these cells into cell cycle or sensitise them to traditional chemotherapy through other means. Recently I have identified a drug that seems to make these dormancy-enriched cells more sensitive to cytarabine, which is currently used to treat AML. I am now trying to identify how this drug sensitises these cells and using altered dosages and treatment schedules to try and enhance this effect.

My next step will be to move this drug into patient samples and see if the same effect is observed. I am also in the process of isolating RNA from dormant and cycling patient cells so I can see which genes are switched on and off when the cells are dormant. This will allow us to improve our understanding of dormancy in AML, as well as potentially finding new targets for therapy in the future.

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