Latest Arrow/HCC achievements in research

April 30, 2018
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Arrow/HCC Research Scientist 2017 report

In 2017 Dr Melinda Tursky continued her research in targeting genes which drive the progression from normal to cancerous blood cells in the Blood Stem Cell and Cancer Research Programme, St Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical Research. During this period, Melinda’s work focused on discovering therapeutic potential of specific inhibitors that target early genetic events driving progression to and maintaining leukaemia using advanced pre-clinical models. In this research, the target genes were ERG and mutation GATA1s, which contribute to development of acute leukaemia in children with Down syndrome. Her research resulted in establishment of two drug testing models and the effect of various drugs on gene expression and inhibition of leukemic cells in the laboratory were tested. One candidate gene inhibitor in particular was identified as a potential therapeutic drug for inhibiting the growth of ERG-driven leukaemia. Furthermore, it also works together with some of the current chemotherapy and enhances their anti-leukaemic effect. Additional work is being undertaken utilising reprogrammable ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ (iPSC) derived from skin or blood cells to further assess the therapeutic potentials of this inhibitor. In 2017 this research work on iPSC or drug testing was presented at several local and international scientific meetings and conferences, including two oral presentations.