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Achieving a major research goal

Wednesday 21 April, 2021

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common blood cancer in Australia and can often be devastating for people affected by it. Recent new drugs are improving outcomes, yet many patients don’t respond to these therapies. When they do, the cancer cells often develop resistance to the new treatments, leading to relapse.

But in research you helped fund over the last three years, Associate Professor Daniel Gray and his team have pioneered a new technology called mass cytometry to find how cancer cells change during drug treatment in CLL patients enrolled in clinical trials.

“We have discovered that the cancerous cells change key survival pathways to better endure treatment with drugs,” A/Prof Gray said. “Interestingly, different cancer cells can alter different pathways, suggesting that tailor-made solutions are needed.”

These discoveries could have significant implications.

“Identifying how cancer responds to treatment is a major goal in cancer research,” A/Prof Gray said.

“These insights provide the foundations for new treatments that give patients the best possible chance for a positive outcome.”

Without people like you, extraordinary outcomes like those of A/Prof Gray and the exciting new studies beginning this year wouldn’t be possible. This work is vital to moving closer to a cancer free future, so thank you. You truly are making a difference.

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