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ANTONIO POLIDANO VELLA | New hope for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia patients

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

​​Meet Antonio

I‘ve been drawn towards scientific research as I am particularly fascinated by the repercussions of discovery and invention. How with the right focus, funding and cooperation, the world of research keeps pushing what we thought was achievable as a species. When I am out of the lab I pursue my main pastime - the visual arts. I relish painting in oils which I have been doing for the past decade, particularly while amalgamating scientific concepts in my art.

New hope for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia patients

I work on a type of leukaemia called Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), which is characterised by the uncontrolled multiplication of myeloid cells in the bone marrow, most commonly after acquiring an unusual piece of DNA, called the Philadelphia chromosome. CML may be controlled using mono-therapeutic* drugs such as imatinib, however, more and more patients are becoming alarmingly resistant to this drug (Valent, 2007).

I am working on a new treatment called combination therapy, which includes the administration of two or more drugs at the same time. The experiments I have done so far prove that combination therapy isn't only efficaciously* superior to monotherapies but also has the potential to make already resistant forms of the cancer susceptible to treatment again.

Additionally, the promising treatments do not significantly harm healthy/non-cancerous white blood cells which is pivotal in hopes of administering this treatment to patients in the near future.

The Next step…

I seek to advance research on these new treatments as part of my PhD program. The main questions I will attempt to answer is what exactly is going on inside the cells to make these treatments so effective and can treatments be coupled with individual mutations that patients present with?

- Project funded by MCST and TESS

​​*Monotherapies - Treatments which include one therapeutic approach at a time such as giving one drug only.

*Efficacious - successful in producing a desired or intended result, in this case, killing the leukaemia.

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