Vassiliou headshot

Dr George Vassiliou

Leukaemic haemopoietic stem cells

Laboratory Location:

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Departmental Affiliation:

Department of Haematology

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The Vassiliou Group seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in transformation of normal to leukaemic haemopoietic stem cells and to identify their differential genetic vulnerabilities in order to develop novel anti-leukaemic therapies.

To achieve these aims the group uses three main approaches:

  • Generation and study of bespoke mouse models of somatic mutation drivers of myeloid malignancies, in order to define their molecular, genomic and phenotypic effects on haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells
  • Application of genetic screens to identify the molecular pathways involved in the transformation of HSCs (transposon mutagenesis) and the survival of leukaemic stem cells (genome-wide CRISP Cas9 screens)
  • Sequencing-based approaches to detect and track the evolution of pre-clinical haemopoietic clones in haematologically normal individuals, in order to understand the factors involved in leukaemic progression

Vassiliou group 2-1ratio

Etienne De Braekeleer Gonia Gozdecka Suruchi Pacharne
Joao Dias Milena Mazan Konstantinos Tzelepis
Oliver M Dovey Annalisa Mupo Grace Collord
Monika Dudek    

Plain English

Blood stem cells live in the bone marrow and are responsible for the production of the cells of the blood and the immune system. Like all cells, blood stem cells accumulate random DNA mutations with time in every one of us. In some unfortunate individuals these changes affect genes that make the stem cells grow uncontrollably leading to the development of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia or AML, an aggressive cancer that kills more than 7 out of 10 sufferers. Our group investigates many aspects of AML from how it develops, whether we can identify people who are at risk of developing it, how gene mutations make AML cells grow uncontrollably, how we detect the mutation in each individual AML and most importantly how to identify the “weaknesses” od AML in order to develop new treatments against this lethal cancer.

Key Publications

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