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25.11.19

Queen’s University Belfast receives grant to further bone marrow cancer research

Myelodysplastic Syndromes UK have given Queen’s University Belfast a grant to progress their research into treatment for MDS, a type of bone marrow cancer.

This type of cancer is where the bone gradually fails to produce mature healthy cells. In some patients, MDS can progress to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), this is when the abnormal cells grow very quickly, building up in the bone marrow and blood.

The research team have recognised the most common genetic mutations that drive this DNA repair defect, revealing a noteworthy number of mutations that control how DNA is structured and the way that genes are “stitched” together to form the final blueprint for making a protein.

The new research grant will further explore the role of deficiencies in DNA as a therapeutic target, particularly on disease progression from MDS to AML.

The grant has been awarded to Professor Ken Mills, Dr Kienan Savage and Dr Katrina Lappin, a leading cancer research team from Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast. It will build on recent discoveries by Queen’s researchers that cancerous cells from a large proportion of patients with MDS, particularly those that progress to AML, have a DNA repair defect.

Professor Ken Mills said: “To date our research has examined the molecular consequences of mutations in RNA splicing and DNA structure genes, both of which can have an impact on the way that DNA is repaired. A DNA repair deficiency can be manipulated to enhance existing or novel therapies to improve outcomes in elderly patients.”

CEO of MDS UK Sophie Wintrich explained: “To date, alongside crucial advocacy work, enabling access to treatment, MDS UK has provided close to 2800 MDS patients, carers and families with essential quality of life support, information and advice, via our helpline, patient meetings, newsletters, booklets and our website. It is particularly exciting for our organisation now to be able to add a research project to our core services.”

 

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