MGH Research Scholar Katia Georgopoulos, PhD, is investigating the basic mechanisms of lymphocyte development related to the Ikaros gene family to find new targets for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma.

Treatment Study of B Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Katia Georgopoulos, PhD
Katia Georgopoulos, PhD
Jean and Terry de Gunzberg MGH Research Scholar 2014-2019
Investigator, Cutaneous Biology Research Center
Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School

We study the basic transcriptional mechanisms that guide development of the immune system.

Our identification of the Ikaros gene family and elucidation of the mechanisms by which these DNA binding proteins interact with chromatin modifying complexes to regulate gene activity during lineage restriction have placed my lab at the forefront of basic research into gene regulation, lineage restriction and immune system development.

Our studies on the role of the Ikaros gene family in lymphocyte development and homeostasis have dovetailed with studies by others of lymphoid malignancies in human in which Ikaros activity has been reported to be altered.

Mutations in the Ikaros gene family were identified as poor prognostic indicators in hard-to-treat acute lymphoblastic leukemias in children. Recent studies have also implicated the Ikaros gene family as targets of the multiple myeloma drug lenalinomide through the E3 ligase complex.

Our fundamental research into the basic mechanisms of lymphocyte development supported by the Ikaros gene family is providing new avenues for targeted therapies of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and possibly of multiple myeloma in human.

Our proposed new research venues seek to explore not only how these epigenetic and transcriptional regulators contribute to normal developmental processes but also how they become subverted during progression to a disease state in mice and men. The outcome of our studies holds strong potential for translation into tailored therapies for a range of lymphoid malignancies.