LLR research news Monday, 3 December, 2012
Dr Andrew Steele received the grant from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to investigate how drugs can be used to force CLL cells to self-destruct.
Dr Steele hopes to interfere in a process known as autophagy, which is believed to be used by CLL cells as a survival mechanism to resist damage caused by chemotherapy.
During autophagy the cell breaks down and recycles its damaged or surplus molecules, creating energy. However, autophagy can also promote cell death as well as protecting against it, depending on which signals are activated.
Dr Steele, a Lecturer in Leukaemia & Lymphoma at the University said: “Modifying how much autophagy occurs in the cell has a profound effect on whether the leukaemia cell lives or dies. Drugs exist that are able to switch autophagy from a pro-survival signal into a pro-death signal. We think that these drugs could be used to successfully treat CLL.”
Autophagy: The process of self-digestion by a cell through the action of enzymes originating within the same cell.