Genetic markers show the way to the most effective leukaemia treatment
Richard Rosenquist Brandell conducts research into how leukaemias arise, and how genetic markers can be used to assess prognosis and to select the most effective treatment. His research focusses primarily on chronic lymphatic leukaemia, CLL.
A third of patients diagnosed with CLL, chronic lymphatic leukaemia, have mild symptoms and will never need treatment. Others need immediate treatment and are at high risk of dying early from the disease. Richard Rosenquist Brandell is focusing his studies on how CLL arises, and how it could be possible to predict the various forms of the disease at an early stage.
“We want to understand which genetic changes characterise the various subgroups of the disease, from the mildest form to the most aggressive,” he says. “This will enable early and more correct risk assessment, as well as choosing the correct treatment for the individual patient. We are beginning to see a future in which we can treat CLL completely without the use of cytostatic drugs by combining small molecule inhibitors. This would be an important advance for the patients.”
Richard Rosenquist Brandell is one the leaders of an internatio¬nal consortium comprised of 24 research institutes with a total of 30,000 CLL patients.
“The very large size of this material gives us unique opportunities to find new associations. We have identified more than one hundred subgroups of the disease, of which 19 are large, and we are now investigating them carefully using the new sequencing techniques,” he comments.
In his research on the origins of CLL, Rosenquist Brandell has focussed on the B-cell receptors. His group has demonstrated that different antigens’ interaction with the receptors is key for the development of the disease. As a clinician, he is also committed to applying modern sequencing techniques in healthcare.
Richard Rosenquist Brandell
Professor of Clinical Genetics at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery
Richard Rosenquist Brandell was born in Boden in 1970. He obtained his medical licence at Umeå University in 1996 and was awarded a PhD in 1998. In 2002, he was appointed Associate Professor at Uppsala University, and Professor in 2007. He qualified as a Specia¬list in Clinical Genetics at Uppsala University Hospital in 2004. Rosenquist Brandell is also Director of a national platform within SciLifeLab focussing on clinical genomics.
He became a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar in 2017. On 14 April 2017, Richard Rosenquist Brandell was appointed Professor of Clinical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet, and Senior Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Karolinska University Hospital.
Text: Anders Nilsson, translated from Swedish, first published in “From Cell to Society” 2017.