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Genetic Profiling and Experimental Modeling of High-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Kathryn Roberts, PhD
Grant Type: 
Young Investigator Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Project Description: 

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains the leading cause of cancer-related death in children and young adults. Despite advances in the treatment outcome for pediatric ALL patients, there remain a considerable number of individuals who do not respond to conventional therapy or experience treatment failure and relapse. In particular, adolescent ALL patients carry a poor prognosis and the biologic basis for this is poorly understood.

Project Goal
The goal of this project is to identify the genetic basis underlying high-risk ALL, and to develop experimental models for testing new treatment approaches. The first aim is to perform cutting-edge genomic profiling of high-risk ALL patients to identify the nature and frequency of genetic changes that result in treatment failure and disease progression. The second aim is to establish experimental models that assess how these genetic changes contribute to leukemia development, and to test the effectiveness of new treatment strategies that directly target these changes. Together, these approaches will comprehensively define the genetic basis of high-risk ALL by identifying genetic alterations that will improve prediction response to therapy at diagnosis, provide new targets for therapeutic intervention, and ultimately improve the treatment outcome for high-risk patients.