Nom i cognoms / Name and surname
Alba Maiques Diaz
Afiliació / Affiliation
Biomedical Epigenomics, IDIBAPS
Programa de finançament europeu en que s’enmarca aquest projecte? / European funding programme in which this project is being carried out?
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Schemes
Títol del projecte / Project title
Role of Transcription Factors as drivers of chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Número del projecte / Project number
2018 BP 00231
Breu explicació del projecte / Brief explanation of your project
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a blood cancer derived from a type of white blood cells named B cells. Normal B cells make antibodies to help fight infection. When CLL occurs too many B cells become abnormal (also called leukemic) and are not able to fight infection. CLL constitute the most frequent blood cancers in Western countries and despite strong scientific efforts, we still have not found a frequent initiating cause for the disease. CLL cells are very heterogeneous and very few patients have a common mutational profile, meaning that the DNA sequence is altered differently in each patient. However, our group has identified that all patients do have something in common: they have the same 500 DNA regions active or “open” to be read. This is what we call an “epigenetic change”, a change that alters the function of the DNA without changing its sequence. But how is this occurring? What is triggering the activation of specific regions of the CLL genome? These are indeed my current aims. If we identify the molecules responsible of activating CLL specific regions that in normal conditions will be wrapped and silenced, we will understand better the steps that initiate this leukemia.
Thus, I plan to characterize why and how the DNA of a normal cell is activated leading to the development of a CLL. Transcription factors are the molecules responsible for reading the DNA and translating into functional effectors. Like the directors of the orchestra, they bind to specific DNA sequences and direct whether that region becomes activated or silenced, by recruiting other co-factors. We hypothesize that the activity of specific transcription factors is altered in CLL and this drives the particular activation of their epigenome. I plan to identify and interrogate transcription factors in CLL cells by mapping where they bind in the genome, identify their associated co-factors and characterize their direct role as directors of the CLL genome. Moreover I plan to study how these changes are influenced by the microenvironment that affect B-cells, to shed light in the role environmental factors have on the onset of a CLL. With the integration of all this information we will be able to envision novel therapeutic approaches to explore for the treatment of CLL patients.
Enllaç a la pàgina web del projecte / Link to your project website
Repte en que s’emmarca aquest projecte / Challenge within the framework of this project
1. Health, demographic change and wellbeing