Acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloid (AML) leukemias are the most common form of cancers diagnosed before the age of 15. Although intensification of the treatments has led to tremendous improvement of survival in ALL, this success remains more mitigated in AML. Moreover, refractory and relapsing leukemia remain the leading causes of mortality for both forms of leukemia, and the use of dense chemotherapy regimens are associated with considerable toxicity and decreased quality of life among young survivors. My research program, dedicated to the optimization of therapy in pediatric acute leukemia, will address these challenges by: 1) developing novel clinical interventions to improve the experiences of children, families and health professionals with anticancer drugs and facilitate their optimal use in this high-risk population; 2) identifying pharmacoepigenetic markers to predict and anticipate drug response and toxicity; 3) discovering novel therapeutic targets to prevent and overcome drug resistance using information from the tumour's epigenome and its microenvironment.
These goals will be achieved through studies directly involving the participation of the children, their parents and caregivers, as well as studies of human primary samples and cellular models combined with cutting-edge technologies in molecular and cellular biology. Overall, my work will lead to the development of new clinical intervention to improve the use of drugs in children with cancer as well as the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies for a better and safer therapy in pediatric leukemia.