Damon Runyon Researchers

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Ann Mullally, MD

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are a type of blood cancer sometimes considered to be "pre-leukemias" which can progress to leukemia and are also lethal cancers in their own right. A population of rare hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), called MPN disease-propagating cells, typically harbor mutations that cause the cells to overproliferate. These mutated HSC produce abnormal cancerous blood cells that over time can eliminate the normal blood cells in the bone marrow. In MPN, the cancerous blood cells secrete an excess of substances called growth factors that allow cancer cells to survive.

Dr. Mullally aims to understand which of the growth factors help the mutated HSC to survive and to then use drugs to block the activity of these growth factors, thus killing the mutated HSC. This approach will lead to more successful treatments for MPN and leukemia, resulting in a higher cure rate for patients. 

Project title: "Determining the role of aberrant growth factor signaling in maintaining disease-propagating cells and mediating JAK2 inhibitor resistance in myeloproliferative neoplasms"
Institution: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Benjamin L. Ebert, MD, PhD, and Jerome Ritz, MD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Stem Cell Biology