Single-cell profiling of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia to understand cancer intra-tumoural heterogeneity and evolution

Dr Matthew JJ Rose-Zerilli, Cancer Services Unit, University of Southampton and John Goldman Fellow 2016

Dr Zerilli

Every person’s cancer is different and every cancer cell is different within the cancer.

For scientists and doctors to better predict the outcome of treatment, we need to be able to better understand the types and number of DNA mutations present in individual cancer cells. Dr Rose-Zerilli’s research aims to separate single leukaemia cancer cells and analyse them in micro-fluidic based machines to detect the mutations present in each cancer cell.

This data can then be used to generate evolutionary ‘maps’ cancer cells present in individuals that remain either stable or whose cancer develops, eventually requiring treatment.

The aim of this research is to understand how cancer cells evolve into specific leukaemias that do or do not require treatment and the type of evolution, or combination of mutations that makes some leukaemias difficult to treat more effectively.

I was inspired to work in leukaemia research as several of my family members have been affected by the disease. I want to make a difference by using genetics to understand more about how these cancer cells work. My fellowship award from Leuka will be a real accelerator for my research

Dr Matthew JJ Rose-Zerilli