Project Grants

Our Project Grants are a new funding award created in 2017.

Our Project Grants are a new funding stream for senior researchers.

We recognised that the haematoncology research community needed funding for project grants. The awards were developed with three main emphases:

  • Potential for advancement in the fundamental understanding of leukaemia, other blood cancers or related diseases or improvement in diagnosis and/or treatment
  • Novelty of the research project
  • Potential for high scientific and/or clinical impact.

Applications were invited from established research group leaders, senior clinician scientists and/or senior research scientists with an outstanding research track record from across the UK. The awards will be funding experienced researchers and their teams over a three-year duration.

Dr Jasper de Boer and Dr Owen Williams: UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Therapeutic Targeting of MLL-fusion Degradation in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Dr Jasper de Boer and Dr Owen Williams

Acute leukaemia in infants and adults that is caused by a previous cancer treatment has poor survival rates. This type of leukaemia is caused by a mutation that creates a new fusion protein, and new treatments are urgently needed to target this protein. Leukaemic cells depend on this particular fusion protein to thrive. They depend on it so much so, that deactivating this protein blocks the progression of leukaemia in the patient. 

Dr de Boer and Dr Williams have recently discovered a potential new treatment that destroys this fusion protein – an incredibly exciting breakthrough! It could be a game-changing treatment of this type of acute leukaemia. Our funding will help allow this team to investigate further what the impact of this targeted treatment could have, using pre-clinical models. 

When this study is complete the research into this treatment could potentially progress to clinical trials, which would completely change the life of sick and vulnerable leukaemia patients.

Professor Jackie Boultwood and Dr Andrea Pellagatti: University of Oxford

Project: Induced pluripotent stem cell/CRISPR-Cas9-based modelling of chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia: molecular pathogenesis, disease progression/prognosis and drug screening

Jackie Boultwood and Andrea Pellegatti

CMML, or Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia, is a common type of myeloid blood cancer. There is an urgent need for newer and more effective treatments for this cancer because, unfortunately, CMML patients typically only live 2-3 years from diagnosis.

CMML originates from leukaemia stem cells but only a small number of these cells can be obtained from the bone marrow samples of CMML patients for study. Dr Boultwood and Dr Pellagatti are looking at new ways in which we can generate more of these leukaemic stem cells for studying, which will then make it possible to identify new drugs and treatments for CMML.

With the funding we are providing, Dr Boultwood and Dr Pellagatti will be combining two exciting technologies: one called ‘Induced pluripotent stem cell’ (iPSC) and one named CRISPR/Cas9. iPSC enables the researchers to generate an unlimited supply of patient leukaemic cells to study, and CRISPR/Cas9 is a major new development that allows the scientists to very precisely modify the human genome in those cells.

With their funded project, the team are aiming to create a new cell-based model of CMML. This model will be used for experiments to better understand the molecular mechanisms that create and drive CMML in  patients, and to identify new drugs and treatments for patients.

Current Individual Grant

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Read more about Dr Niklas Feldhahn's research at Imperial College, London, made possible by a previously-awarded Leuka grant.

Researchers, apply for a Project Grant

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If you're a researcher looking for funding for your leukaemia or blood cancer-related research, apply for our Project Grants here.