The focus of the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research is to improve the understanding of leukemia stem cells in order to develop cures for leukemia and other hematologic malignancies. Leukemia stem cells and progenitor cells differ significantly from mature leukemia cells and, of course, from normal hematopoietic stem cells. Because recent studies have demonstrated that leukemia stem cells actually cause leukemia, the objective must now be to eradicate leukemia stem cells, rather than just the regular, mature leukemia cells addressed by current therapies. Eradication of the leukemia stem cells may actually produce cures.
Our goal is to investigate mechanisms of regulation of normal hematopoietic stem cell growth by the marrow microenvironment; the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell transformation in patients with leukemias; assessment of the effects of therapeutic interventions on malignant stem cells; and preclinical and clinical development of innovative, mechanism-based therapeutic interventions directed against malignant stem cells.
Ravi Bhatia, M.D., is the director of this division and is actively recruiting additional basic and translational investigators. Takahiro Maeda, M.D., Ph.D., from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center joined the department in January 2007. Ya-Huei Kuo, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Medical School joined the department in January 2008. Ching-Cheng Chen, Ph.D., from Stanford University joined the department in January of 2010.