Targeted treatments for cancers of the blood

1-day course: Targeted Treatments for Cancers of the Blood

Level: Intermediate/advanced (Designed for research nurses and other staff working on haematological cancer trials; requires some prior understanding of cancer biology)

Description: This course introduces the unique cellular and genetic features of haematological cancers. It covers a range of targeted treatment approaches in use and in development for these cancers, including monoclonal antibodies and inhibitors of: FLT3, KIT, JAK2, BTK, NFκB, Bcl-2 and repressor fusion proteins.


Key concepts in leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma
  • Genetic mutations as the cause of all cancer
  • Types of DNA damage in haematological cancers
  • Consequences of chromosome translocations
  • Unique properties of haematological cancers vs. other cancers
  • Overview of approaches to creating targeted treatments for haematological cancers: targeting CD antigens, faulty signalling pathways, faulty cell processes and fusion proteins
Monoclonal antibody treatments against CD antigens on the cell surface
  • How monoclonal antibody treatments are made
  • Different types of mAb treatments: naked, conjugated, direct-acting and indirect-acting
  • Monoclonal antibodies  licensed in the UK for the treatment of lymphomas and leukaemias

Team quiz

Faulty signalling pathways and how to target them
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) such as FLT3 and KIT
  • JAK2 inhibitors
  • mTOR inhibitors
  • The B-cell receptor
Specific treatments for particular cancers
  • Acute  leukaemias: PML/RARα (ATRA and arsenic trioxide)
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia: Bcr-Abl inhibitors (imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib)
  • Myeloma:  proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib and carfilzomib), thalidomide & lenalidomide
Practical exercise