Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dr Jessica Morison published in Nature

Monash University Research Fellow Dr Jessica Morison is an author on a recently published paper in Nature for work on a Peter Macallum Cancer Centre/University of Cambridge study that examines a new class of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics.

Dr Morison works on the newly established Australian and New Zealand Lymphoma and Related Diseases Registry (LaRDR) in the Transfusion Research Unit (TRU) within the Critical Care Division at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (DEPM).

The research looked at BET inhibitors -- a new class of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics. The study provided new insights into potential therapeutic limitations of these agents in the setting of acute leukaemia and strategies to overcome drug resistance, as well as new information on the biology of acute myeloid leukaemia.

“The research shows how leukaemia stem cells react to BET-inhibitors – a novel treatment which is the subject of a current international clinical trial,” Dr Morison says.

“This promising treatment targets epigenetic mechanisms of disease to effectively “turn-off” cancerous genes in haematological malignancy.”

In the past decade, promising epigenetic therapies have emerged such as small molecule inhibitors targeting the bromodomains of BET family proteins.

These inhibitors can directly target BET proteins that bind acetylated chromatin marks meaning that these cells can switch off cancerous genes.

Together, these findings may enhance the clinical utility of these unique targeted therapies.

Dr Morison was recently recruited to TRU to work on the LaRDR, a project that brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists in lymphoma diagnosis, management and research.

The lymphoma registry aims to investigate the epidemiology, treatment practices, care and effects on clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with lymphoma.

Dr Morison completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow focusing normal and malignant haematopoiesis, bringing to her current role within the Transfusion Research Unit previous knowledge of the haematology and oncology research environment, lymphoid cancers and an international network for future collaborations.

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