Understanding blood cell development

Every three minutes, one person in the United States is diagnosed with leukemia, or blood cancer. One of the most aggressive and deadly forms is mixed lineage leukemia (MLL), which occurs most often in children.  

A Loyola study funded by the National Cancer Institute investigates this type of leukemia, specifically the role of the AF9 protein, which is important to blood cell development. Nancy Zeleznik-Le, chair of Loyola’s Department of Cancer Biology, and Professor Charles Hemenway are leading the research, which aims to better understand the AF9 protein’s role in both normal blood cell development and MLL. If successful, they believe their efforts will increase understanding of the disease and may identify novel avenues for drug development.