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Dr Kylee Maclachlan

PhD Scholarship (Clinical)

Supported by the fundraising of Light the Night ‘Shooting Star’ 2013, Kate Leith

Researcher:          Dr Kylee Maclachlan
Institute:               Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Project title:          Novel combination therapies to selectively 
kill blood cancers
Disease focus:     Blood cancers
Annual Funding:  $60,000
Funding period:   2014-2017

Project summary 

To help improve the effectiveness of the new blood cancer drug, CX-5461, Dr Kylee Maclachlan is looking at potential drug combinations that will overcome or delay resistance.

From preclinical studies, CX-5461 appears to have potential for treating blood cancers—particularly acute myeloid leukaemia and myeloma. However, despite encouraging initial responses in laboratory models, many cancers developed resistance over time.

Dr Maclachlan is looking for drugs that can act synergistically with CX-5461 to extend patient survival and prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

“I’m looking at the therapeutic benefits of CX-5461 treatment alone as well as in combination with other drugs to treat lymphoma, human mixed lineage leukaemias and multiple myeloma,” said Dr Maclachlan.

“My research will help us to understand which patients will most benefit from CX-5461 as well as to design combination therapies for use in subsequent clinical trials.”

Dr Maclachlan is giving top priority to drugs already approved for clinical use or in clinical trials.

To date, the Leukaemia Foundation has funded five projects focusing on the development of CX-5461—a commitment worth $850,000. For more information, see the fact sheets for Dr Stela Álvarez Fernández (2014), Donald Cameron (2014), Associate Professor Ross Hannan (2012) and Dr Megan Bywater (2012).

Associate Professor Ross Hannan’s laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne developed CX-5461 in collaboration with Cylene Pharmaceuticals. The drug is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial in Australia.