The research of William G. Morice II, M.D., Ph.D., is focused on the diagnosis of blood and bone marrow cancers. In particular, his interests are in lymphoproliferative disorders of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, plasma cells, and B cells. Dr. Morice studies these disorders using a variety of methods, with a particular emphasis on flow cytometry. In his research, Dr. Morice aims to translate knowledge from his postdoctoral training in immunology into practical applications for clinical diagnosis.
- Characterization of chronic lymphoproliferative disorders of NK cells. In this work, Dr. Morice has made seminal observations establishing chronic lymphoproliferative disorders of NK cells as a bona fide disease entity. Novel flow cytometry immunophenotyping and immunohistochemical methods, many developed by Dr. Morice, have been used to identify and characterize these rare leukemias. These methods are used not only to establish the diagnosis but also to demonstrate that the disease can be correlated to normal NK cell subsets. Making this correlation is a fundamental element in the classification of T cell and B cell leukemias, and Dr. Morice's techniques provide the first published example of the ability to do the same for NK cells.
- Studies of bone marrow involvement in lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Dr. Morice has led a number of studies characterizing the morphologic, immunophenotypic and genetic features of marrow involvement in lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Through these studies, variations in disease distribution and patterns of antigen expression have been described. High-power flow cytometry methods developed by Dr. Morice and the Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology flow cytometry laboratories were used. This work has improved the ability of the lab to detect and diagnose these diseases, and led to Dr. Morice's inclusion as a contributor to consensus documents on the assessment of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia prognosis and response to therapy.
- Laboratory diagnosis of T cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia (T-LGL). Dr. Morice has performed numerous studies using flow cytometric immunophenotyping, bone marrow immunohistochemistry and molecular genetic methods to evaluate blood, bone marrow and spleen tissue for involvement in T-LGL. Novel features of T-LGL have been elucidated through this work. These studies have transformed how T-LGL malignancy is differentiated from reactive states, and their publication resulted in the inclusion of Dr. Morice as an author of the chapter on T-LGL in the World Health Organization classification of tumors of hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues.
Significance to patient care
The research performed by Dr. Morice is critical in establishing the presence of chronic leukemias of NK cells and providing greater insights into the pathology and clinical manifestations of T-LGL. These studies have improved the clinical diagnosis of these disorders, which are thought to be rare but have likely been underrecognized due to the limited number of clinical laboratory tools available. Dr. Morice's research benefits patients with these enigmatic disorders, as more accurate laboratory diagnoses have in turn improved the ability of clinicians to manage and avoid overtreating these characteristically indolent diseases.
- Member, Research and Innovation Board, Brussels Academic Hospitals Laboratory, 2017-present
- Founding member, Bone Marrow Pathology Group, 2012-present