Description of the Research Program
The “Leucegene” Project
The BCLQ is at the core of a major genomic and personalized medicine program for acute leukemia : The Leucegene Project. This project is headed by Drs Guy Sauvageau (Project Leader, IRIC) and Josée Hébert (Co-Project Leader, HMR Research Centre). It involves researchers from the IRIC and HMR, as well as researchers from the Université Laval and McGill.
The project focuses on acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that is among the leading causes of death in young adults. There has been approximately 18,860 new cases of AML in the U.S. in 2014, and over 1,300 in Canada. The overall survival rate of AML patients is only in the 25% range. Currently used prognostic tests are inaccurate in more than half of AML patients, making it difficult to assess the risk of relapse or to determine appropriate treatment options. The project, named “Innovative chemogenomic tools to improve outcome in acute myeloid leukemia“, is funded by Genome Québec and Genome Canada since 2013.
The project’s objectives are:
- Developing new diagnostic and prognostic tests aimed at optimizing risk stratification of AML, in order to significantly improve treatment options and patient survival.
Over 400 BCLQ samples have been analyzed and characterized at the genetic level using next-generation sequencing technologies. The project aims to develop better molecular markers to predict the response to chemotherapy and to detect persistent leukemic cells after chemotherapy (or minimal residual disease).
- Discovering new AML therapies
Various chemical compounds will be tested during the course of the chemical screening performed in this project. They will include compounds currently being used to treat AML or undergoing clinical trial for this cancer, but also numerous cancer drugs as well as medication used to treat diseases other than cancer. The project will enable us to identify new and more effective chemical compounds against AML. It will also enable us to discover a new indication for approved drugs already being used in disorders other than AML.
Holder: Josée Hébert M.D., F.R.C.P.(C)
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