Dr Rachel Thijssen - Blood Cells & Blood Cancer division

Dr Rachel Thijssen - Blood Cells & Blood Cancer division

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 29/06/2022 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 29/06/2022 - 2:00pm

WEHI Wednesday Seminar hosted by Professor David Huang

Dr Rachel Thijssen

Senior Research Officer - Huang Laboratory, Blood Cells & Blood Cancer division – Cancer Research & Treatments Theme, WEHI

A single-cell exploration to uncover what drives venetoclax resistance in leukaemia

Davis Auditorium

Online access via Slido and enter code #WEHIWednesday

Including Q&A session

Venetoclax inhibits the pro-survival protein BCL2 to induce apoptosis and is now standard therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), delivering high complete remission rates and prolonged progression-free survival for patients with CLL who had been previously treated with chemotherapy. However, eventual relapse on venetoclax due to acquired resistance remains a major problem.

Dr Thijssen’s research focuses on unravelling how haematological malignancies evade cell death, with a focus on venetoclax resistance, using state-of-the-art single-cell technologies such as CITE-seq and single-cell long-read sequencing (Nanopore).

She applied a novel single-cell omics approach on samples from patients with progressive leukaemia after treatment with venetoclax. Combining single-cell short-read with long-read sequencing identified mutations and alternative transcripts in specific sub-clones of the leukaemias at relapse. In this seminar, Dr Thijssen will summarize the unappreciated scale of genetic and epigenetic changes underpinning acquired venetoclax resistance in CLL. Her findings pinpoint new approaches to circumvent venetoclax resistance. She provides specific biological justification for the strategy of venetoclax discontinuation once maximal response is achieved rather than maintaining long-term selective pressure with continuous venetoclax treatment.


All welcome!