Project Description

Dr. Jana Ellegast
Emerging Research Grant
– Acute Myeloid Leukemia


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 


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Dr. Jana Ellegast’s Research

Dr. Jana Ellegast is the recipient of an Emerging Grant from PCRF. We are thrilled to see new research that has the potential to offer effective targeted therapies for children facing AML.

Leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related mortality in children. Treatment options are often limited, particularly for children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Our laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute specializes in discovering new lead compounds and protein targets for cancer therapy. Specifically, using a state-of the-art genome editing tools, such as CRISPR, we seek to identify genes that AML cells need to survive; these genes could be promising therapeutic targets for new drugs. I identified one protein that works as a molecular switch and is critical for the survival of AML cells. Cell death is observed when we inhibited this target in AML cells with genetic or chemical perturbations. Importantly, this target seems to be essential for a subtype of childhood leukemia currently with limited treatment options, the type characterized by fusions involving a gene called KMT2A (MLL). The focus of my current work, supported by the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, is to further validate and characterize this target. This work will be crucial to the development of selective inhibitors and ultimately enable us to bring these new medicines to children with AML.


Some people say that children make up 10% of our cancer population, but they are 100% of our future! ~ Dr. Alex Huang, Case Western