Research

Dr Chevassut conducts a successful translational research programme in AML and MDS that aims to better understand the biology of these conditions through basic science with a view to improving treatments for patients through clinical trials.  The basic laboratory research is conducted at the BSMS Medical Research Building at the University of Sussex and focuses on the molecular mechanisms of leukaemogenesis.  Dr Helen Stewart is the senior scientist overseeing the research with key collaborators in London, Oxford, Edinburgh and the United States.  There are three main research themes: firstly, to understand how mutations of the DNA methyltransferase gene DNMT3A commonly lead to AML; secondly, to study how histone abnormalities lead to expansion of leukaemic stem cells; and thirdly to explore novel epigenetic therapies in AML including hypomethlyating agents and bromodomain inhibitors.

Dr Chevassut has also established the Brighton Bone Marrow Tissue Bank containing samples from patients with AML, MDS and other forms of blood cancer that serves as an invaluable research resource.  In collaboration with other investigators at Sussex University, notably the Genome Centre and the Drug Discovery Centre, the Tissue Bank will facilitate the development of diagnostic assays for disease profiling and drug testing.

Finally, Dr Chevassut has established a highly regarded early phase clinical trial unit at CIRU (Clinical Investigation Research Unit), based at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.  He is principal investigator for four studies in MDS and AML, including two for which he is the UK Chief Investigator, that aim to improve treatment options for patients using a variety of targeted therapies such as monoclonal antibodies, antisense molecules and DNA hypomethylation.  The ambitious goal of the programme is to bring to the clinic a new and effective treatment in MDS/AML, discovered and developed at BSMS and Sussex University, over the next ten years.