Targeting leukemic stem cells in infant leukemia by blocking interactions with the microenvironment
While childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia is very curable, leukemia in infants less than six months of age is very difficult to cure. Better approaches to treatment targeting leukemia cells and leaving normal cells alone are highly desirable for these tiny patients. Dr. Slayton’s work uses medicines designed to block the interaction between infant leukemia stem cells and their microenvironment (normal cells around them) to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy. By blocking these interactions, Dr. Slayton hopes to set these leukemia cells “up for the kill” while not harming normal cells.