Restraining cytokine-receptor signalling in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Restraining cytokine-receptor signalling in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Project details

Normal blood cell development is tightly regulated by small extracellular proteins, called cytokines. Upon binding to receptors on the cell surface the JAK-STAT signalling pathway becomes activated and thus facilitates controlled cell proliferation. In a group of bone marrow diseases, known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) acquire mutations that induce constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT signalling pathway, leading to an excessive production of one of more blood cell lineages. The aim of this project is to better understand the precise molecular mechanism of MPN transformation to inform new therapeutic approaches in MPN.

In this project we will use a wide range of experimental techniques, including CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, next-generation sequencing, molecular biology, cell culture and flow cytometry.

About our research group

Our laboratory studies how blood cells are produced. Blood cells are crucial for the body’s defence against infection, oxygen transport around the body and blood clotting to prevent bleeding. Reductions in numbers of blood cells, such as during chemotherapy for cancer treatment, increases the risk of severe infection or bleeding. Conversely, when the production or function of white blood cells occurs unchecked, diseases such as leukemia or autoimmunity can arise.

Our research aims to understand the molecules and processes governing blood cell production in health and disease. This knowledge allows development of new strategies for treatment of diseases of the blood.


Schematic of cytokine receptors
Cytokine receptor signaling in normal hematopoiesis (left) and MPN (right).



Professor Warren Alexander

Professor Warren Alexander photographed at the Institute
Laboratory Head; Joint Leader, Cancer Research and Treatments Theme
Dr Kira Behrens
Blood Cells and Blood Cancer division

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