Guest Blog – leukaemia and blood cancer researchers think digital

11th April 2014

Mary Alikian is a Leuka funded Research Assistant and Part-Time PhD Student at Imperial College London. Here she tells us about a new initiative to get leukaemia and blood cancer researchers thinking digital.

Mary Alikian, Research Assistant and Part-Time PhD Student at Imperial College London.

“The competition we have developed is based on generating data using the dPCR machine that Leuka bought for us recently. Groups will be asked to perform a set of experiments and analyse the data that they have generated. They will then present their results and take part in a multiple choice question assesment. The team with the most points will carry out further experiments, and their names will be published in the study on the dPCR validation experiments.”

About the dPCR machine:

The dPCR machine is a molecular quantification machine that improves on the Gold standard methodology currently in practice (qPCR) by providing extra sensitivity, accuracy and precision. This allows the measurement of very low quantity of targets that would otherwise have been considered as negative.

For CML patients, monitoring of their BCR-ABL1 transcript levels in response to TKI therapy is an important part of their disease management. The majority of the patients are on life-long TKI therapy brining additional cost and inconvenience to both patient and health care services. In recent years, there have been several clinical trials that showed the possibility of safely taking certain patients off TKI therapy, provided certain criteria are met.

We are proposing to use the Quant Studio digital PCR (QS3D) dPCR machine as part of the bolt-on research study annexed to the Destiny trial, a UK based trial of de-escalation and stopping treatment in chronic myeloid leukaemia patients with excellent responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy.