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Associate Professor Andi Roy leads one of the five research teams across the UK that have been awarded the 2021 Cancer Research UK-Children with Cancer UK Innovation Award. The awards, which provide a total of £4.3 million in scientific funding, will allow leading researchers in the field to delve into the biology of children’s and young people’s cancers, with the hope of finding new ways to prevent and treat these complex cancers.

Line drawing of babies.

Professor Andi Roy leads the Childhood Leukaemia research group at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and is a member of Oxford Centre for Haematology.

Despite improvements in overall survival over the last 40 years, cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children and young people (aged 1-24) in the UK. The Cancer Research UK–Children with Cancer UK Innovation Awards will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of cancer in children, which they hope will lead to the development of better and less toxic treatments.

Professor Roy's group aims to develop a new way to treat a type of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), known as Mixed Lineage Leukaemia (MLL) gene rearranged infant ALL (MLLr-iALL), which currently has a particularly low survival rate.  CAR T-cell therapy, which uses modified versions of a patient’s T cells to attack their cancer, is often used to treat leukaemia. But using this potentially life-saving treatment in very young patients is limited, because it’s very difficult to obtain T cells from them, as these patients have already gone through intensive chemotherapy and are often immunocompromised.

Read the full story on the Radcliffe Department of Medicine website.

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