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Dr. Raquel Aloyz
Investigator, Lady Davis Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Oncology, McGill University
Dr. Raquel Aloyz is a scientist in the field of drug resistance in cancer. In the past few years she has focused her research on chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma using malignant lymphocytes donated by the patients treated at the haematology clinic at the Jewish General Hospital. The focus of her research aims to find targeted therapies to treat haematological malignancies using tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Major Research Activities
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common incurable form of leukemia in adults. Dr Aloyz's research aims to find and exploit the “weaknesses” of CLL cells to help clinicians develop better treatments for the disease. To achieve her goals, she has collected CLL cells isolated from the blood of over 100 CLL patients. She uses these lymphocytes to identify and test promising drugs which kill CLL lymphocytes. The analysis of her results will help us to see the “bigger picture” of the biology of CLL cells so as to find better ways to kill them. She is using this cell bank to develop two different projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America (LLSA). With these funds, she is studying whether the combination of fludarabine, the first line treatment for CLL patients, with small amounts of either of two drugs, GRN163L or dasatinib, can kill CLL lymphocytes much better than fludarabine alone. More recently, she found that dasatinib alone is effective in killing the CLL cells from patients resistant to available treatments. Some of her results mentioned above have already been confirmed clinically in case reports and have also contributed to the design of ongoing clinical trials.

Recent Publications

p53 and autophagy contribute to dasatinib resistance in primary CLL lymphocytes.Amrein L, Soulières D, Johnston JB, Aloyz R. Leuk Res. 2010 Jun 21.

Therapeutic implications of Src independent calcium mobilization in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma Hollmann CA, Tzankov A, Martínez-Marignac VL, Baker K, Grygorczyk C, Grygorczyk R, Foulkes W, Nadeau J, Dirnhofer S, Aloyz R. Leuk Res. 2010 May;34(5):585-93.

Primary del 17 chronic lymphocytic leukaemia lymphocytes are hypersensitive to dasatinib in vitro.Amrein L, Panasci L, Gibson SB, Johnston JB, Soulières D, Aloyz R. Br J Haematol. 2009 Nov;147(3):396-8. 

Dr Aloyz was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology, McGill University, and Project Director at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in 2004.

She has published forty-two articles in peer reviewed journals.
Her research projects are built on her original observation that chronic lymphocytic leukemia lymphocytes require c-abl signaling for survival.

Her findings were published in the prestigious journal Leukemia.

More recently, Dr Aloyz reported that chronic lymphocytic leukemia lymphocytes, isolated from the patients with worst prognosis (del17), are hypersensitive to dasatinib. These findings, corroborated by clinical case reports since her original publication, suggest that dasatinib could be used to target del17 chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.
Important Links
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