Monitoring of minimal residual disease on chronic myeloid leukaemia patients in a setting of treatment free remission

For patients who have achieved deep molecular responses and have minimal residual disease after treatment, the new goal for clinicians today is to identify candidate patients that can safely cease TKI therapy achieving treatment free remission (TFR).

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia smear

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia smear
Paulo Henrique Orlandi Mourao  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is estimated that approximately 50% of CML patients may be eligible to stop TKIs, however half of them experience molecular relapse, usually within 6 months, and have to restart therapy. CML is projected to become the most prevalent leukaemia by 2040, therefore is critical to maximise the number of patients achieving TFR.

However, unravelling the critical mediators of TFR is a major challenge.

The aim of the project will be to characterise the residual leukaemia population in TFR patients, and understand why some patients relapse and others don’t.

One possible line of inquiry involves identifying the lineage of residual CML cells, through a highly sensitive DNA approach. This will involve a characterisation of the genomic breakpoint and the development of a patient-specific assay to monitor residual leukaemia on sorted cell populations.

Professor Tim Hughes

Supervisors

Professor Timothy Hughes

Co-supervisorsDr Ilaria Pagani

Research area: Cancer program - South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Molecular and Biomedical Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science, Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science: Microbiology and immunology, Honours projects - Timothy Hughes, Honours projects - Ilaria Pagani