News

$150,000 in funding from the Richard and Edith Strauss Foundation for two promising cancer research projects

Published on June 28, 2019

IRIC is proud to announce $150,000 in funding from the Richard and Edith Strauss Foundation for two promising cancer research projects.
For the “Identification of biological targets influencing the response to anti-AML drugs” project, Dr. Guy Sauvageau received $100,000 in funding. As for Dr. Sonia Cellot, Paediatric hematologist at CHU Sainte-Justine, and Brian Wilhelm, they received $50,000 in financial support for their project titled “Characterising the stem/progenitor cell of origin of high fatality pediatric leukemia”.
IRIC warmly thanks the Foundation for its dedication to the cause.

About the projects
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease defined by various subtypes of AML that respond differently to available treatments and for which prognosis varies. Dr. Sauvageau’s group has identified compounds, glucocorticoids and ABT-199 that selectively target poor prognosis AML subtypes. However, not all leukemias from these subgroups respond to treatment. The project aims to shed light on the mechanisms responsible for resistance to treatment with glucocorticoids or ABT-199, to ultimately develop optimised therapies involving these drugs.

Despite the common feature of acute leukemias of presenting uncontrolled cell growth, the genetic errors causing the disease are complex and vary from one patient to another, regardless of age. For instance, a specific group of leukemias containing chromosomal translocations more frequently affects young children than adults. Even though it is known that blood stem cells undergo changes with aging, it is still not clear what all of these changes are, nor how they influence the development of a leukemia. The project led by Brian Wilhelm and Dr. Sonia Cellot aims to use leading-edge new technologies to study the genome of tens of thousands of individual cells at the same time. The objective is to better define the changes that occur in the DNA of young and old stem cells by using their human model leukemia system to test how these changes impact leukemia development. The research project will help better identify the types of drugs that might be useful for the treatment of specific leukemias.