Mechanisms of drug resistance in childhood leukaemia and solid tumours

Research in mechanisms of drug resistance in childhood leukaemia and solid tumours is led by Professor Vaskar Saha and Dr Guy Makin.

Professor Vaskar Saha’s research focuses on improving outcomes in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. His translational research group (the Children’s Cancer Group), benefits by being situated within the Paterson Building, in close proximity to The Christie Hospital and the research facilities of the CRUK Manchester Institute, and the Manchester Cancer Research Centre building.

The group has helped characterise a novel prognostic cytogenetic subtype of ALL and identified a new mechanism of drug resistance. They have developed models of disease recurrence and designed and conducted collaborative international clinical trials that have led to the improvement of outcome of children with high risk leukaemia.

In the solid tumour field biomarkers and circulating tumour cells have also been a focus of the laboratory and both Dr Guy Makin and Dr Martin McCabe are investigating the use of these in paediatric tumour types, evaluating existing adult biomarkers for paediatric use, as well as developing novel biomarkers of response, in collaboration with Professor Simone Fulda in Frankfurt and Professor Caroline Dive in the CRUK Manchester Institute.

The group’s other main area of interest has been in hypoxia, particularly in relation to the effect of hypoxia on the response of tumour cells to conventional and mechanism-based therapeutics, and in ways that this can be modulated for therapeutic benefit.