Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a cancer of the white blood cells. Clinical outlook for this slow-growing cancer varies amongst patients. Some patients show no symptoms of cancer while others can progress rapidly where treatment is necessary. The onset and cause of symptoms /disease progression is unknown.
The focus of our research is to identify the emergence of new proteins on the surface of white blood cells (B-lymphocytes) that enable cancer cells to escape from immune defence, leading to disease progression in CLL.
The Institute is in a unique position to study over one hundred patients with sequential blood samples collected over many years. From this, we have created a library of proteins from the cancer cells in symptomatic CLL patients. By screening this library for interactions with cell surface proteins collected from symptomatic CLL patients, while selecting against interactions with cell surface proteins collected from asymptomatic CLL patients, we will unveil unique proteins that drive symptom development.

We are validating promising results and hope that the identified protein(s) will provide targets for future development of an immunotherapy that will prevent disease progression in CLL and potentially other cancers as well.

Group Leaders
  • Professor George Kannourakis
  • Dr Sharon Olsen
  • Dr Monirul Islam
PhD Candidates