Laura G. Schuettpelz M.D., Ph.D.
2020 Funding recipient
Understanding how toll like receptor (TLR) signaling throughout the bone marrow contributes to ineffective hematopoiesis in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
Discovery Research Grant 2020
The goal of our research is to understand how inflammation contributes to the suppression of blood cell production and the development of leukemia in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). In particular, we are interested in the role that a group of proteins called toll like receptors (TLRs) play in this disease. TLRs are normally found on healthy blood cells, and help the immune system to recognize infections and injury. These proteins are increased on the blood stem cells of patients with MDS, however, and are thought to inhibit the function of these stem cells. We are seeking to understand what types of TLRs are found on the different cells in the bone marrow of patients with MDS, how these differ from healthy individuals, and how they change as the disease evolves toward acute leukemia. We are also interested in understanding the mechanism by which TLRs inhibit normal blood cell function. Ultimately, our research will help to inform whether drugs targeting certain TLR proteins may be useful in treating patients with MDS.