Preventing blood cancer patients from relapsing

Preventing blood cancer patients from relapsing

Illuminate newsletter index page, June 2018
June 2018

Dr Edward Chew
Dr Chew (R) pictured with RCPA President Associate Professor 
Bruce Latham. Image credit: Sally Abboud Photography/RCPA.

Clinician PhD student Dr Edward Chew has received a $25,000 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Foundation Illumina Cancer Research Grant to advance work into acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Dr Chew is co-leading a study with Dr Ian Majewski and Professor Andrew Roberts to improve treatment outcomes for patients with AML.

The researchers aim to get to the bottom of why some patients with AML are cured of their cancer after treatment and why others, who have received the exact same treatment, experience a relapse.

Approximately 900 people will be diagnosed with AML in Australia this year. Despite advances in treatment and patient care, fewer than half ofthese patients will be alive five years after diagnosis.

Protecting vulnerable patients

Dr Chew said no one fully knows why some patients, but not others, respond successfully to AML treatment.

“If we can figure out what makes certain forms of this aggressive cancer so resistant to therapy, we can develop targeted treatments to protect our most vulnerable patients."

“Our group is fortunate to have the bioinformatics expertise of Ms Anna Quaglieri and Dr Christoffer Flensburg to help us decipher the large quantity of genetic information we get from patient leukaemia samples.

“We are aiming to identify the critical factors leading to a successful patient outcome after treatment,” Dr Chew said.