Welcome to the Oehler Lab

Current Research Interests of Vivian Oehler and her Lab:

Mechanisms of leukemia disease initiation/progression and therapy resistance, new agents in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Current Clinical Interests:

Myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders; acute myeloid leukemia

Research Description:

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib, dasatinib and nilotinib have dramatically altered treatment strategies in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Outcomes for early (or chronic phase) disease are excellent. However, a significant minority of chronic phase CML patients and many advanced CML patients develop resistance to therapy.

In the laboratory we are examining mechanisms involved in CML disease progression and the effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy on the underlying natural history of CML disease. In the clinic we are pursuing studies of new agents in the treatment of CML and AML.

CML provides a unique disease model in which to apply a translational approach. Using microarray-based gene and microRNA expression studies of a large group of CML patients, we have identified expression changes in patients that are highly associated with disease progression and therapy resistance. We have identified similar changes in AML. We are using these data to investigate several questions including: can we identify candidates that predict which patients are at risk for early therapy failure or disease progression and can we determine how these genes and their targets cause disease progression and therapy resistance?

To answer the first question we are investigating a group of prognostic markers at diagnosis that can identify patients at risk for early disease progression or therapy failure. To answer the second question, the most promising candidates derived from our patient-based studies are examined in vitro and in vivo to better understand their possible function in disease progression and therapy resistance, and to define pathways that can be targeted by existing or novel therapies.

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