Improving outcomes for obese children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL): a clinical collaboration to understand the influence of obesity on treatment success.

Obesity is recognised by the WHO as a global epidemic. Many links have been made between obesity and poorer outcomes for patients diagnosed with cancer. In particular, obese children diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) have a higher chance of relapse, the reasons for which are not yet fully understood. As part of a pilot study in collaboration with the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, we are currently collecting blood plasma samples from ALL patients before and after the Induction phase of treatment, in order to identify changes in expression of key molecules secreted by fat tissue in patient samples. Combined with cell culture experiments, we aim to use these data to identify which secretions interfere with chemotherapy, and design new treatment strategies to improve the prognosis of obese childhood ALL patients. The work proposed here seeks to expand this valuable clinical dataset, to allow comparisons between patients who present with obesity and those of normal weight. This clinical link will also allow us to elevate this study to the next level, and test the effect of our proposed treatment strategy on patient whole blood samples containing leukaemia cells; an important step which could provide the foundation for a clinical trial.

Grant Award – Kidscan PhD Studentship (2017 – 2020)

Funding Award – £36,212.00

Funding Awarded to – Dr Caroline Topham

Research Location – University of Salford

Lead Researcher – Dr Caroline Topham