Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer diagnosed in children. It has an overall survival of approximately 80%, with certain subsets experiencing greater than 98% cure rate. Incremental advances in therapy have led to marked improvements in survival since it was first treated, with these advances highlighting the importance of clinical trials through cooperative multicenter groups. Childhood ALL also often serves as the paradigm for risk-based therapy, whereby stratification of treatment intensity is based on risk of treatment failure. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of the treatment of childhood ALL is the reliance on risk-based stratification. By identifying the features that have been shown to affect prognosis, patients can be classified into groups based on risk of treatment failure. Those with favorable features can be treated with less toxic regimens, whereas more aggressive regimens are reserved for those with more high-risk disease. It is therefore paramount to identify those features shown to consistently affect prognosis and, thus, influence treatment. Thus, our research aims at the identification of new genetic aberrations and mutations with prognostic value to be used as biomarkers to improve diagnosis and risk stratification of patients and their treatment response by employing tailored adapted therapies.
To this goal, different advanced diagnostics and research initiatives are conducted in our group:
- Immunophenotypic Plasticity of Pediatric B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: a Genomic Study, Principal Investigator: Dr Barbara Buldini
- Gene expression profiling and next generation sequencing in JMML and B ALL, Principal Investigator: Dr Silvia Bresolin
- Next generation sequencing and target discovery in T ALL, Junior Principal Investigator Dr Maddalena Paganin
- Phosphoproteomics for ALL diagnostics and research, Junior Principal Investigator: Dr Valentina Serafin