The Acute Leukemia Research Group is aiming to develop new therapeutic strategies and drugs for the treatment of specific subtypes of infant and childhood high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). This type of acute high-risk leukemia is caused by specific genetic alterations. These are called chromosomal translocations - and in our case - chromosomal translocations of the human MLL gene.

Nearly 50 different chromosomal translocations have been identified in recent years and all are correlated with acute myeloid or lymphoblastic leukemia. Our scientific research is mainly focussed on two different areas:

  1.  We are running a diagnostic center in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Thomas Klingebiel at the Department of Pediatric Hematology, Children's Hospital III, Frankfurt, Germany. Our diagnostic center is collaborating with many european clinical centers (The Netherland, France, United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Poland, Tchechoslowakia, Germany) in order to identify MLL translocation in patient biopsy material, but also to discover new MLL translocation partner genes in leukemia patients.
  2.  The t(4;11) chromosomal translocations. This specific genetic abnormality is found in leukemic cells and correlated with very poor response and worse prognosis. After a decade of intensive research, we have uncovered a first pathological mechanism. This mechanism involves the fusion proteins derived from t(4;11) chromosomal translocations. Currently, we are establishing biological test systems and animal model systems in order to identify and test new drugs aiming to treat patients with t(4;11) leukemia.

Our studies are currently supported by research grants:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Mildred Scheel-Stiftung der Deutschen Krebshilfe