The Hematologic Malignancies Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center focuses on the genetic, molecular and cellular basis of hematologic malignancies and the translation of these findings into novel clinical trials.
The program conducts research on all three Mayo Clinic campuses — in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Rochester, Minn.
The Hematologic Malignancies Program has three goals:
- Investigating the epidemiology and mechanisms of progression for hematologic malignancies
- Characterizing the cell biology and molecular nature of hematologic malignancies to identify new therapeutic targets
- Developing new therapies for hematologic malignancies
To accomplish these goals, the Hematologic Malignancies Program is organized into four disease-oriented groups:
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
- Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, the body's disease-fighting network.
- Myeloma and amyloid diseases. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in bone marrow. Mayo Clinic's myeloma group was founded by myeloma research pioneer Robert A. Kyle, M.D. Amyloid disease, or amyloidosis, develops when substances called amyloid proteins build up in organs.
- Myeloid diseases, including myeloproliferative disorders, acute leukemia and myelodysplasia. Myeloid diseases are cancers that affect white blood cells called myeloid cells. Myeloproliferative disorders, or myeloproliferative neoplasms, cause red and white blood cells or platelets to grow abnormally and spread in the bone marrow. Acute leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that causes bone marrow to overproduce a certain type of white blood cell. Myelodysplasia, or myelodysplastic syndrome, is a group of disorders caused by poorly formed or dysfunctional blood cells.
Mayo Clinic researchers in these disease-oriented groups explore all facets of hematologic malignancies, including the causes and genetics behind cancers of the blood, how cancer progresses, and new treatments, such as immune targeting and gene therapy.
Investigators work within and across the four disease groups because studies are often complementary — a better understanding of one disease helps develop better treatment for another. In addition, each researcher brings his or her own unique expertise, whether basic research, clinical research or patient care.
The Hematologic Malignancies Program also participates in Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants for lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
The Hematologic Malignancies Program has two co-leaders: