Department of Pediatrics
Section of Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Amos Gaikwad
1102 Bates Street, Suite 1570
Houston, TX 77030
The prognosis for children with relapsed leukemia is worse. Leukemia relapse may in part be due to the persistence of relatively chemoresistant leukemic stem cells (LSC).
Dr. Amos Gaikwad’s research focuses on studying LSC from pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (pALL). He aims to understand the relative potency of standard chemotherapeutic drugs and novel agents that may target pediatric LSCs. Therapies targeting LSCs may improve the long-term survival of children with leukemia.
Recently, side population (SP) cells identified by Hoechst vital dye exclusion were shown to possess stem cell properties and to be involved in leukemic transformation. Like LSC, SP cells are quiescent and may not be sensitive to agents that act on rapidly dividing cells. Dr. Gaikwad sought to examine if SP cells in pALL are leukemic as targeting them may improve therapy for pediatric leukemias. SP cells in bone marrow of pALL are rare and displayed CD34-, CD38- phenotype. Cytogenetic analysis of SP cells from different pediatric ALL patients revealed expression of leukemia-specific translocations. SP cells from pALL are clonogenic (colony formation in semi-solid media). Mouse engraftment studies are in progress to investigate the role of SP cells in pALL.
These translational studies will eventually lead to disease free survival of children suffering from leukemia.
Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science, India
Member, American Society of Hematology