The role of RNA modifications in myeloid leukaemogenesis
Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis
University of Cambridge
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a devastating disease with a long-term survival rate of less than 30%. Despite progress in understanding how this cancer develops, mainstream treatments for AML has remained unchanged for decades.
We recently established a powerful genetic screening method for identifying weaknesses in AML cells which can be used as therapeutic targets. We used this to identify a new set of genes that are essential to leukaemia, which appear to function by modifying the AML cells’ RNA. Our initial studies with one such gene, METTL3, showed that it is essential for AML but not for normal blood formation making it a good treatment target. For this project, I will extend my studies to related genes, including METTL1 and METTL16.
My findings will improve our understanding of how such genes sustain leukaemia cells and this will help develop new effective treatments for AML.