Some families carry inherited genetic mutations that greatly increase their risk of developing blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma. Through the Australian Familial Haematological Cancer Study, coordinated by our research group at the Centre for Cancer Biology, we have used the latest DNA sequencing technologies to identify new mutations a gene called DDX41.
Already mutations in this gene are the most common known inherited genetic factor associated with development of blood cancer, however the way in which these gene mutations cause blood cancer is currently unknown.
In this project we will examine several functions of this gene in blood cells to determine how it works. Importantly, we will also use state-of-the-art genetic technologies to develop tests for monitoring mutation carriers at risk of developing leukaemia and investigate candidate drugs with the aim of establishing personalised medicine to treat, or even prevent, leukaemia development in these high risk patients.