The interactions of Nox4 and Bcr-Abl in the survival of leukaemia cells

Key Information

Cancer type: 
Research Institution: 
UCC, Cork
Grant Amount: 
Start date: 
October 1, 2010
End date: 
September 30, 2013

Scientific Project Abstract

One in four people will develop cancer during their life time and many will die from the disease. In this project we look at the role of a molecule called hydrogen peroxide that seems to help leukaemia cells to survive. This is almost counterintuitive as hydrogen peroxide is a molecule that a high concentration can be quite damaging to cells. However, several different cancer cells seem to produce it at low concentrations and this is linked to an increase in their ability to survive. This project investigates where the hydrogen peroxide is produced in the cancer cell, what enzyme system makes it and how it helps the cancer cell to become stronger. The proposed research work uses a variety of techniques in the effort to solve this problem. The outcome of this work will help not only understand why leukaemia cells survive but also shed light on other cancer types as well.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Understanding how hydrogen peroxide can help leukaemia cells to survive
What this project involves: 

Hydrogen peroxide is a molecule that at high concentrations can be quite damaging to cells, including cancer cells. However, several different cancer cells seem to produce low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and this is linked to an increased ability to survive and proliferate.

This project aims to investigate where in the cancer cell this hydrogen peroxide is being produced, and what proteins in the cell are responsible for making it. In addition, this study aims to identify exactly how hydrogen peroxide is driving cancer cell growth as it may represent an attractive drug-target.