Analysis of immunosuppression in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia cells
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common leukaemia in the western world. Although new treatments have improved outcomes for patients with this disease, the majority will eventually relapse, and CLL remains incurable.
The immune system provides a powerful means of controlling cancer growth. However, the interaction of the CLL cells with the immune system often provides signals that may assist rather than hinder CLL growth.
The mechanisms underlying this effect are currently unknown.
This project will investigate the mechanisms used by CLL cells to suppress the body’s normal immune response. It will also analyse the effect of chemotherapy drugs on the suppressive activity of the CLL cells.
The enhancement of immune responses against CLL would potentially have considerable therapeutic benefits for this patient group.
Dr McKenzie is the Haematology Research Group Leader at the University of Otago, Christchurch.More About Dr Judith McKenzie