Leukaemia Foundation

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Dr Carolyn Grove


Supported by the Estate of the late Marilyn David.

Chief investigators:   Dr Carolyn Grove
Institute:                      University of Western Australia
Project title:                The role of the c-Cbl gene in
      suppressing the development
      of leukaemia
Disease focus:            Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
Funding:                      $100,000
Funding period:          2014

Project summary 

In acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), mutations to the FLT3 gene are strongly associated with a poor prognosis. While drugs that target this gene mutation are being trialled, over time AML cells appear to acquire gene mutations that allow them to resist the drugs.

Dr Carolyn Grove from the University of Western Australia is assessing another potential treatment that could increase the effectiveness of anti-FLT3 drugs. From preliminary research, Dr Grove has evidence that enhancing the activity of the c-Cbl gene product could provide a new treatment approach for patients with AML.

c-CBL codes for the cell signalling protein CBL and mutations to this gene are also implicated in AML development.

“We’re using laboratory models to test the possibility of treating acute myeloid leukaemia with drugs that activate the protein produced by the c-Cbl gene,” said Dr Grove.

“The results could lead to a new therapeutic approach for treating myeloid leukaemias as well as progress our understanding of the crucial signalling changes that promote and maintain these leukaemias.”

Dr Grove is assessing berberine and arsenic compounds, which were recently shown to boost the activity of the Cbl protein. In addition, her research team is screening for other possible therapeutic compounds.