Researcher Examines Impact of Extra Chromosome on Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

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David Gordon, MD


Project: Trisomy 8 in Hematopoiesis and Myeloid Leukemia

Dr. David Gordon
David Gordon, MD University of Iowa

Human cells are made of many parts, including chromosomes which are organized structures of DNA. Their job is to help direct the actions of various types of cells. There are 23 chromosomes and normally each cell contains 2 copies of each chromosome for a total of 46 chromosomes. Scientists have long known that many types of cancer cells show either a gain or loss of specific chromosomes. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer that affects approximately 500 children each year, between 10-20% of patients have an extra chromosome 8, referred to as trisomy 8.

David Gordon, MD, PhD at University of Iowa, suspects that trisomy 8 contributes to the creation of cancerous cells because certain genes are expressed when an abnormal number of chromosomes are present. Understanding these genes could lead to the development of targeted treatments. Using cell lines he previously developed that are identical, with the exception of the presence of an extra chromosome 8, Dr. Gordon’s CureSearch grant involves screening the cell lines for new AML target genes and investigating the impact of trisomy 8 in blood cell development. His ultimate goal is to determine whether AML cells have specific vulnerabilities as the result of their trisomy 8 status with the aim to identify therapeutic options for this subtype of AML.

As of the conclusion of his CureSearch-funded project, Dr. Gordon has developed resources to progress the study of trisomy 8 AML:

  • 2 in vivo screens in 16 AML cell lines to identify new AML target genes
  • 3 drugs in preclinical evaluation
  • 24 induced pluripotent stem cell clones developed from two AML patients
  • 1 stem cell model of Ewing sarcoma (also has trisomy 8) developed

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