National Cancer Institute Awards Coriell Scientist with Grant to Study AML Drug Resistance


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a Coriell Institute for Medical Research scientist a $2 million five-year grant to study ways to reduce drug resistance in patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a form of leukemia which arises from bone marrow tissue.

The grant was given to Jian Huang, MD, PhD, an Associate Professor and Senior Scientist for Stem Cell Biology and Gene Engineering who will serve as principal investigator on the research project.

“Drug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia remains a major hurdle in treating this life-threatening cancer,” said Dr. Huang “My research is focused on better understanding the genetic causes of that drug resistance and finding ways to determine which drugs are most effective for certain genetic makeups.”

Previously, Dr. Huang and his team have conducted a CRISPR based genetic screen in AML cells and identified several important genes whose loss-of-function lead to drug resistance to a new FLT3 inhibitor Quizartinib (AC220). This study was published in the journal Cancer Research in 2017. In the following studies, Dr. Huang’s group will further investigate the molecular mechanisms by which those genes functions in the drug resistance to AC220.  As a very effective drug to treat FLT3-ITD+AML, AC220 is currently being tested in clinical trials.

In 2019, Coriell researchers published an article in Clinical Epigenetics detailing new biomarkers they found which indicated a patient’s likelihood for success when their relapsed or refractory AML was treated with the novel epigenetic drug guadecitabine.

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