Big Ideas

Ravi Bhatia, M.D. and Wen Yong Chen, Ph.D.

May 22, 2012

Dr. Ravi Bhatia and Dr. Wen Yong Chen of City of Hope used their 2007 Translational Grant to aid in the understanding of and fight against chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Leukemia has a powerful defense system, so a cure for the disease has never been found. However, Bhatia and Chen’s research suggests there is a way around the defense system. They have discovered an enzyme, SIRT1, that protects CML stem cells and plays a role in CML and other cancers. Blocking that enzyme can break through CML defense systems and reduce the growth and survival of CML stem cells. Bhatia and Chen’s research helps scientists understand the leukemia stem cells that drive CML, and targeting the stem cells may eventually lead to a cure of the disease.