Project Title

Understanding platelet dysfunction in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Project Summary

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a type of blood cancer that develops slowly over months or years. CLL, rarely observed in children, is the most common type of leukaemia in adults. In the majority of cases, the overproduction of immature blood cells (blast cells) is of B-lymphocyte lineage. Many individuals with CLL show little or no symptoms and are often only diagnosed during a routine blood test. One of the symptoms of CLL is increased incidence of bruising and prolonged bleeding. This is due to the overpopulation of white blood cells in the bone marrow that prevents sufficient generation of platelets.

Platelets are small anucleate blood cells that are critically important in clot forming, wound healing and innate immunity. Recent studies indicate that platelets from CLL patients are not only present in reduced number but are also functionally defective. Notably, CLL platelets display a significantly diminished response to physiological stimuli such as adenosine diphosphate (ADP). As the activities of ectonucleotidases CD39 and CD73, enzymes responsible for the generation of the immune-suppressive adenosine from ATP and ADP are known to be elevated in several cancers, we hypothesise that purinergic metabolism and signalling (molecular communication mediated by purine nucleotides and nucleosides such as adenosine, ADP and ATP) are altered in CLL and contribute to the formation of defective platelets.

This project aims to examine platelets from healthy and CLL individuals to understand better the mechanisms underpinning platelet dysfunction in CLL, which may lead to better anti-cancer treatment strategies.

Blood Disorder

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Patient Recruitment Details

Patient recruitment status: Not commenced

Number of Patients

To be confirmed.

Partner Organisations