Dr Steven Lane
Supported by Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland
Chief investigator: Dr Steven Lane
Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Project title: New ways to optimise stem cell transplantation
Disease focus: Blood cancers
Funding period: 2014
A discovery by researchers from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane could lead to the development of new drugs to improve the viability of stem cell transplants in blood cancer patients.
In preliminary research, in collaboration with QIMR Berghofer’s Professor Geoff Hill and Dr Kelli Macdonald, the researchers found a completely new pathway used by cells to stimulate granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). G-CSF is a protein produced by the body that stimulates the bone marrow to produce stem cells and release them into the blood stream.
Clinicians administer a synthetic version of G-CSF to mobilise blood stem cells into the blood stream so that they can be harvested for transplantation. However, the therapy isn’t effective in all patients, especially if they’ve already had chemotherapy.
QIMR Berghofer Translational Leukaemia Research Laboratory Team Head, Dr Steven Lane, is collaborating with Professor Hill and Dr Macdonald to investigate the newly discovered pathway.
“Blood stem cell mobilisation is a complex and dynamic process,” said Dr Lane.
“The QIMR Berghofer discovery is important because it will lead to a much clearer understanding of blood stem cell mobilisation and, critically, through this project could lead to the trial of a new treatment in patients.”
The team also is looking at possible new agents that could be used, either alone or as a combination therapy with G-CSF, to stimulate the pathway and increase blood stem cell mobilisation.
This is the third Leukaemia Foundation Grant-In-Aid awarded to projects led by Dr Lane. (See fact sheets for 2013 and 2012).