The aim of the Leukemia Program is to improve the prognosis of patients with leukemia through basic research, clinical investigation, and outcomes studies. To this end, the program has assembled laboratory researchers, translational scientists, clinical investigators interested in pathogenesis, epidemiology, or treatment of adult and pediatric patients with acute leukemias, myeloproliferative disorders, myelodysplasia, and related diseases.
An increased level of interaction is occurring between programs focusing on new developments in the genetics of cancer and their implications for molecularly targeted approaches to cancer. For example, imatinib has proven efficacious not only in treatment of BCR-ABL positive CML but also in gastrointestinal stromal cell tumors associated with activating mutations in KIT. These observations have brought about a collaborative interaction between the Leukemia Program and the Gastrointestinal (GI) Malignancies Program.
Similarly, the Leukemia Program is developing strong inter-programmatic ties with the Lung Cancer Program based on recent insights that molecular targeted therapy of the EGFR tyrosine kinase is effective in non-small cell lung cancer patients that have activating mutations in EGFR. DF/HCC will escalate this interaction to address emerging problems such as drug resistance due to acquired point mutations in the respective kinases.