Study aims to understand why resistance occurs to Venetoclax when treating blood cancers
Last month the Australian Government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), committed to strengthening Australians’ health through a $440 million investment in research to prevent illness and deliver better care.
Dr Mary Ann Anderson from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research was awarded $444,875 over five years for her work on a novel non-chemotherapy-based drug, Venetoclax, for the treatment of blood cancers.
Venetoclax has been associated with excellent responses, however the use of this drug is limited by the development of resistance.
“While Venetoclax has been associated with excellent responses, the use of this drug is limited by the development of resistance.”
“Our research aims to understand why this resistance occurs and to undertake systematic laboratory and clinical studies to identify rational approaches we can take to overcome this resistance in order to improve outcomes for patients,” said Dr Anderson.
Dr Anderson’s research also aims to understand why some leukaemia patients don’t respond well in the long term to therapy and will test new ways to improve disease control.
“By elucidating the reasons why patients become resistant to treatment we can rationally attempt to overcome this problem,” said Dr Anderson.
With the support of this Investigator grant, Dr Anderson can focus her time on testing patient derived and other leukaemia cells for mechanisms of resistance to new treatments.
Within five years Dr Anderson anticipates that her work will be able to describe more complete mechanisms of resistance to Venetoclax and have established safe and effective interventions to prevent resistance arising in patients.
“Our research has already changed lives by taking a drug from the bench top in 2011 to the point where it is now FDA and TGA registered as well as PBS reimbursed in Australia. Building on this foundation with my this funding, I will be able to continue to improve the lives of patients living with leukaemia in Australia,” said Dr Anderson.
A full list of grant recipients is available on NHMRC’s website.