Pilot project to investigate the impact of adipokines on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) outcomes

Obesity is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a global epidemic. Many links have been made between obesity and poorer outcomes for patients diagnosed with a range of diseases, including 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. We propose to investigate this phenomenon at the level of the cell, in order to strip back the complexity and understand how the cell’s basic response to chemotherapy is influenced by the increased proportion of fat tissue present in obese patients. We will identify the key molecules secreted by fat tissue in patient samples, and monitor how their levels change before and after the initial phase of chemotherapy. We will then use this information to simulate the conditions found in ALL patients using a cell culture-based system, allowing us to directly measure if these secretions are able to influence the sensitivity of ALL cells to treatment. In this way, we can identify which secretions from fat tissue are able to interfere with chemotherapy, and so design new strategies to overcome this to improve the prognosis of obese childhood ALL patients in the future.

Grant Award – Kidscan Pump Priming Grant (2016)
Funding Award – £7,250
Funding Awarded To – Dr Caroline Topham
Research Location – University of Salford
Lead Researcher – Dr Caroline Topham