2017 January 19

The Leukemia Stem Cell Group receives an Innovation award from Caixa Impulse

The Leukemia Stem Cell Group, led by Ruth Risueño, has been selected for a Caixa Impulse Award 2016 with their project Novel Leukemia Therapy: Development of new therapeutic approaches for Leukemia

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a hematological neoplasia characterized by the rapid expansion of immature myeloid progenitors in the bone marrow. Patients normally have a poor prognosis; if treatment is effective it is often followed by a relapse and survival rates 5 years after diagnosis have remained at 30-50%. For these reasons a new therapeutic option is desperately needed by AML patients.

The Leukemia Stem Cell Group is working specifically on this problem and they are studying a family of drugs already used to treat other conditions with no relation to Leukemia. The target of these drugs is a well-known membrane receptor and pre-clinical studies have shown it to be present in all AML patient samples, indicating that there is a potential treatment for all AML patients. The use of this family of drugs would be an innovative approach in oncology and potentially a very valuable tool.

The CaixaImpulse scheme is the Innovation and Technology project of the "la Caixa" Foundation aimed at providing promising bio-health projects with an injection of funds and support in the form of specialized training, mentoring and networking to support scientific projects and spin-offs.

Ruth Risueño explains that the award not only brings much-needed funding but also provides valuable opportunities for scientists to gain skills and business know-how to help them steer a promising project to success. In this case she has already set up a spin-off company Leukos, to develop the technology. The next stage is to carry out large-scale clinical trials to test the treatment in patients, something that is made easier as the drugs in question have already been approved as safe for use for other diseases.

More information.