T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) accounts for 15% of pediatric and 25% of adult ALL cases and was originally identified as a highly aggressive tumor associated with poor prognosis. Recent studies have identified a subset of T-ALLs whose transcriptional programs resemble those of immature early T-cell progenitors (ETP) and hematopoietic stem cells. Importantly, these so-called ETP-ALLs have strong clinical relevance since they are characterized by early treatment failure and an extremely poor prognosis.
The ultimate goal of this research proposal is to identify novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of ETP-ALL. Given that these patients completely fail current chemotherapy treatment schedules, this project addresses the urgent need to identify novel therapies in this aggressive haematological malignancy. Therefore, this project holds the promise for significantly ameliorating clinical care in the near future.