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Leicester scientist announces 'unexpected and exciting advance' in study of cancer type
Date:2/27/2008

A University of Leicester scientist has announced a major advance in understanding of a cancer that strikes at infants and young children.

The Leicestershire and Rutland charity Hope Against Cancer, currently celebrating its 5th anniversary, has now made funding available to further the research project at the University of Leicester investigating acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Professor Martin Dyer, in the Universitys Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, has received 15,000 from Hope for consumables to aid his research.

Professor Dyers team has recently identified a series of ten novel chromosomal translocations in children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. These translocations arise following breaks within DNA that are repaired incorrectly.

Chromosomal translocations play a pivotal role in the development of ALL. Their identification is useful in terms of understanding how the disease arises, in defining new subgroups of disease and ultimately may lead to the development of new targeted therapies.

Professor Dyer commented: The identification of so many new chromosomal translocations in ALL is unexpected and is very exciting. It sheds fundamental new light on the pathogenesis of the disease. One translocation defines a subgroup of about 15% of patients that had previously lacked a molecular marker.

Understanding how these events transform normal cells has now become a major goal of my laboratory. I am very grateful to the rapid response of Hope Against Cancer, which will allow us to pursue this development fully in a timely manner.

Some of the data relating to Professor Dyers research has been presented to the American Society of Hematology.

Hope has already provided support for Professor Dyers research in the form of a Clinical Research Fellowship to investigate various aspects of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)

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Contact: Professor Martin Dyer
mjsd1@le.ac.uk
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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