Our research group studies telomere biology in blood cells and molecular factors that affect tumor development and prognosis in lymphatic leukemias and lymphomas.
The telomeres are located at the ends of the chromosomes and shortens when the cells divide.After many cell divisions, the telomeres become significantly shorter and as a consequence the cells stop divideing. In cells that have a great need to proliferate (eg stem cells), the enzyme telomerase counteracts the loss of telomeres and this enzyme is also seen in cancer.
One focus for our research group is the significance of telomere changes and epigenetics in cellular aging, especially in Telomere Biology Disorders (TBD). In TBD, patients have mutations in genes for telomerase telomere-binding proteins with increased loss of telomeres. In TBD the patients have bone marrow failure, leukemias, pulmonary fibrosis and problems with the skin, nails and mucous membranes. We hope that with our research we can contribute to increased knowledge of cellular aging and that it can contribute to improved treatment of TBD patients in the future but also to an increased understanding of aging processes in cancer cells.
Another part of our research focuses on factors that affect tumor development and prognosis in lymphatic leukemia and lymphoma. We mainly study genetic, epigenetic and telomer biological factors in aggressive lymphatic leukemia and lymphoma. In many cases, these diseases have a good prognosis after treatment, but a significant proportion of patients relapse and die in their disease. We have previously studied the prognostic significance of DNA methylation changes in acute lymphatic leukemia and in the current projects we focus mainly on aggressive B-cell lymphomas, which are the most common form of lymphoma. Hopefully our research will to contribute to an increased understanding of why some patients with lymphatic leukemia and lymphoma get relapses. Furthermore we aim to identify markers that can improve treatment and prognosis for the patients with lymphatic leukemia and lymphoma.