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Dr Gitendra Wickremasinghe
Department of Haematology, Hampstead Campus
Rowland Hill Street
Tel: 020 7472 6198
Fax: 020 7830 2092
Dr Gitendra Wickremasinghe profile picture
  • Emeritus Reader in Experimental Haematology
  • Research Department of Haematology
  • Cancer Institute
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary
The majority of our work is carried out using leukaemia cells isolated directly form the patient, rather than cell lines. We are attempting to unravel the biochemical strategies used by these cells to evade apoptotic cell death and to use this information to devise novel therapeutic approaches. For example, a recent publication (Steele et al: Blood 112:3827) describes our work showing that the major route by which p53 induces apoptosis is via a non-transcriptional mechanism. In fact, p53's transcriptional function activates pathways which protect leukaemia cells from apoptotic death induced by cytotoxic drugs. This is a counter-intuitive conclusion which goes against current p53 dogma, which sees this protein as being a pro-apoptotic transcription factor. Our research also suggests a means of enhancing leukaemia cell killing, since drugs which blockade p53-mediated transcription markedly augment apoptosis induction by cytotoxic drugs.Continuing studies are aimed at expanding on this and similar themes.
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