A team from the University of Manchester, led by Sam Butterworth (DPO) has been award a £2.3M Medical Research Council Development Pathway Funding Scheme (MRC DPFS) grant to conduct further studies on a potential new treatment for Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CMML).

The team is comprised of experts in CMML, immunology and drug development from across the University of Manchester and includes: Dan Wiseman, Kiran Batta, Annalisa Tirella, John Grainger, Doug Dyer, Dan Scotcher, Alan Dickson and Tim Somervaille.

CMML is a type of blood cancer for which has no generally effective treatment. For the majority of people diagnosed with CMML, the prognosis is dismal, with 50% of patients dying within 15-20 months of diagnosis. According to Cancer Research UK, with CMML there are too many abnormal monocytes, a type of white blood cell.  These abnormal cells prevent the bone marrow from making other types of blood cells, causing symptoms.

With the help of this grant, the team is seeking to address this shortfall by developing a new class of drug that selectively targets and kills cancerous monocytes through the patient’s body, by attaching a highly toxic compound to a protein that is taken up only by this type of cells. Successful completion of the project will provide the data required to take one of these drugs into final toxicity tests and subsequent clinical trials in CMML patients.