Targeting the GAS6/AXL Pathway in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells with a Novel Combination Therapy

Blood cancer (leukemia) is common, with ~48,600 and 6,400 new cases expected in the United States and Canada respectively in 2016. The National Cancer Institute (US) calculated an overall 5-year survival rate of 56% for various blood cancers. This is because most current therapies are short-lived; drug resistance and relapse pose significant clinical problems. Life-long treatment is required, with potential long-term side-effects and a high cost. We and others have discovered that this is mainly due to the inability of current therapies to eradicate blood cancer stem cells, which then maintain the potential for relapse. There is thus an urgent need to develop new therapies that specifically target blood cancer stem cells so that these cells can be eliminated. In collaboration with SLC, this proposal aims to develop a new complementary therapy that directly targets blood cancer stem cells, leading to long-term cure of disease and a reduction in healthcare costs.

Faculty Supervisor:

Xiaoyan Jiang


Katharina Rothe


SignalChem Lifesciences Corporation




Medical devices


University of British Columbia



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