What will happen with your donation?
All of the money you decide to donate to the Across Europe Trust will go to the KiKa Trust. KiKa has decided to spend the contribution from Across Europe in its entirety for the following research objective:
Research into new leads for the treatment of children with a certain subtype of acute myeloid leukemia
Centre: Erasmus MC – Queen Sophia Children’s Hospital Rotterdam
Duration: 1 jaar
Project number: 112
Contribution KiKa: € 97.908,88
Approved in: 2012
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of leukemia that occurs both in children and in adults. A mere 60-70% of the children who contract AML will recover from it. Furthermore, the therapy has a lot of side effects both during treatment and later in life.
AML arises due to anomalies of the DNA. The disease may be separated into several sub-types, depending on the type of DNA anomaly. A gene is a small piece of DNA which codes for a particular protein. If defects occur in a gene (a damaged gene), the protein’s functioning may be impeded. The cell may then start uncontrollable division thereby causing cancer. In the case of AML certain types of white blood cells, sometimes red blood cells or red blood platelets may divide and continue to grow uncontrollably. In order to stop this unrestrained cell growth drugs specifically aimed at these damaged genes are extremely important.
In this research project we are directing our attention at a small sub-group with a specific DNA defect (a so-called MLL-rearrangement; in this case an exchange of material on chromosome 6 and on chromosome 11). In spite of all existing forms of treatment, this group has an exceptionally poor survival rate: a mere 22% of children was alive 5 years after diagnosis.
This is why we are looking for DNA defects and the functioning of the associated genes specifically in this group. When the function has been determined, the next question is whether the functioning of this gene can be influenced by drugs and whether this leads to more effective treatment of the disease. Although this only relates to a small part of all the children with AML, it is nevertheless possible that we may be able to identify elements in this group that also play a role in other types of AML occurring in children.
The ultimate goal of this project is to find leads for new forms of therapy. This is all the more important since intensifying current therapies is not an option due to the severe side effects. New therapies should therefore be aimed at an anomalous gene or protein in the leukemia cell and would hopefully produce fewer side effects in healthy cells.