Modeling T-Cell A.L.L.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive blood cancer that preferentially affects children and adolescents. The leukemia is commonly associated with specific genetic abnormalities. Dr. Aifantis’ research focuses on one particular gene, known as Notch1, which is found in more than half of T-ALL patients and which has been generally recognized as a key trigger for the induction of the disease. Dr. Aifantis and his team have recently shown, using mouse models, that not all individuals with Notch1 mutations develop leukemia. Why is that? What mechanism actually pulls the trigger? The doctor’s previous research has identified another gene, the pre-T-cell receptor, as possibly involved. This research project made possible by [Gabrielle’s Angel] Foundation will use mouse models to try to answer this question by unraveling the relationship between the two genes. Better understanding of the pathways between these genes could lead to the design of new treatments for T-ALL patients.