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Transduced packaging cells co-expressing Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and RUNX1::ETO
Transduced packaging cells co-expressing Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and RUNX1::ETO

We work closely with other investigators at Cardiff University with a major focus on basic and translational research into haematological malignancies and on clinical trials exploring innovative treatment for leukaemia.

Our research involves development of novel drugs, immunotherapies and other highly targeted approaches, including cellular therapies and molecularly directed agents, as well as the identification of genetic changes and molecular disease characteristics that can be exploited to direct patient-specific therapy.

The haematology research groups work together across College themes to analyse various haematological cancers with respect to mechanisms of leukaemogenesis, leukaemic stem cells, drug development, animal models, microenvironmentally determined therapy resistance and novel cellular therapies.

These programmes are also closely linked with the research infrastructure in Cardiff, including Clinical Trials subgroups and Centre for Trials Research (CTR), Wales Cancer Research Centre (WCRC), Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC; which Haematology co-leads), Medicines Discovery Insitute (MDI) and European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute (ECSCRI). We also link with national and international academic research centres and cooperative study groups for a broad spectrum of haematologic malignancies including the NHS, particularly Velindre NHS Trust and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Our research programmes are supported by funding from government and charitable sources including Medical Research CouncilHealth and Care Research WalesCRUK, Blood Cancer UKCancer Research WalesWellcome Trust and several International Scholarship schemes supporting postgraduate research.

Theme lead

Picture of Alex Tonks

Professor Alex Tonks

Personal Chair, Division of Cancer and Genetics

+44 29207 42235

Area of interest

Prof Tonks lead a multi-disciplinary research group (Cardiff AML Target Discovery and Translation Research Group) focused on abnormalities affecting haematopoietic (blood cell) development which leads to haematological malignancies (blood cancer).  He is interested in how the process of haematopoietic development in stem and progenitor populations is dysregulated by these genes in AML. His work has focused on the identification of novel therapeutic targets, biomarkers and potential therapies for the treatment of one of these cancers - acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). In particular, Prof Tonks investigate the role of a number of candidate genes including RUNX1::ETO, metabolic proteins, S100 protiens, Wnt signalling, hnRNP proteins, CD200 and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in leukamogenesis.

Principal members of staff

NameArea of interest
Professor Richard Darley 

Research in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Co-lead Cardiff AML Target Discovery and Translation Research Group

Dr Steve Knapper Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) trials in myeloid malignancies and co-director of ECMC
Dr Caroline Alvares Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) trials and co-lead of AML microenvironment group
Dr Joanna Zabkiewicz Translational drug development and co-lead of AML microenvironment group
Dr Martin Ruthardt

Leukaemogenesis and Oncogenic fusion Genes and lead of AML therapy resistance group

Research groups

Cardiff Haematology Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Research Unit

The AML Research Unit encompasses both basic science and translational research coupled with clinical trial activity centred on the prognosis, treatment and chemoresistance of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).