Crowdfunding the research of a bad prognosis type of childhood leukemia
From the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute, Dr. Pablo Menéndez and his team are hard at work on studying a certain type of childhood leukemia with prenatal origin. Lymphoblastic pro-B leukemia in lactating children is a childhood tumor that has a very poor prognosis today.
This childhood leukemia is characterized by its high resistance to current drugs. Due to it being a cancer of little relevance, which affects few children a year in Spain, the resources allocated to researching the how and why of paediatric cancer are scarce.
MLL-AF4 lymphoblastic leukemia is diagnosed in children during their first year. This mutation is present at birth in 100% of the babies, which proves it appears during pregnancy. Even so, we do not know whether there are other alterations or genetic or epigenetic insults that take place soon after the birth and speed up the disease.
From the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute, this line of investigation was recently opened in order to answer two questions key to improving the prognosis of babies who suffer from this very acute form of leukemia.
o Finding out in which blood cell this leukemia originates during prenatal development (during pregnancy)
o Finding out which cell is responsible for the infiltration into the central nervous system (the brain) babies with this form of leukemia usually suffer.
If we manage to identify the population phenotype responsible for the leukemic cells invading the central nervous system we will be able to identity the antigenic profile towards which we should direct new therapeutic strategies. This will undoubtedly allow us to improve the quality of life of the children suffering from this acute leukemia.
To be able to undertake this investigation we have decided to publish our project in the www.precipita.es website. Through this portal it is possible to make micro-donations so the project can be accomplished. With everyone’s help we will be able to reach the 25.000€ that will help us to continue fighting unrelentingly against leukemia.
Precipita is a platform promoted by the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology, FECYT, whose goal is to bring researchers and people interested in science together.