Less than 25% of those diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) will live beyond five years. Dr. Kristin Hope, Senior Scientist at The Princess Margaret, is working to change that.
In the ‘Hope Lab’, a University Health Network lab space, Kristin oversees multidisciplinary research teams focused on the self-renewal of stem cells and their deteriorating counterparts. If they can pinpoint the processes that lead to relapses of this form of cancer, then they can begin to design specific therapies to reduce recurrence.
Kristin’s research is focused on early intervention. “If we can determine where leukemias start, they will be easier to treat.” She’s also working to understand how the disease changes and what the most effective solutions could be. “Cancer is not just one disease, it’s thousands. And each one is a Rubik’s cube,” she said. “But all discoveries have the potential to cause rapid change in our understanding of cancer.”
Kristin has been celebrated internationally for her findings on new genes that drive AML, and for discovering ways to specifically target and kill leukemic cells. Even with these great achievements, she remains humble. “Accolades are great affirmations of progress,” she said, “but the most satisfying part is knowing that each discovery could help someone.” Her research has contributed to advancing new treatment options for improving the quality of life for leukemia patients around the world. “Many patients are living longer, fuller lives with AML than they were 10, even five years ago,” said Kristin.
Great strides in research cannot be made without teamwork and of course, funding. Thanks to the Princess Margaret Home Lottery, Kristin and her team can continue to conduct research that will improve the lives of leukemia patients for years to come. “Collaboration is key,” she says. “If we keep working together, we can generate something greater than the sum of our parts.”