Dr. Raquel Aloyz
Assistant Professor - Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine
Assistant Professor - Department of Oncology
Dr. Raquel Aloyz is a scientist in the field of drug resistance in cancer. In the past few years she has focused her research on chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma using malignant lymphocytes donated by the patients treated at the haematology clinic at the Jewish General Hospital. The focus of her research aims to find targeted therapies to treat haematological malignancies using tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common incurable form of leukemia in adults. Dr Aloyz's research aims to find and exploit the “weaknesses” of CLL cells to help clinicians develop better treatments for the disease. To achieve her goals, she has collected CLL cells isolated from the blood of over 100 CLL patients. She uses these lymphocytes to identify and test promising drugs which kill CLL lymphocytes. The analysis of her results will help us to see the “bigger picture” of the biology of CLL cells so as to find better ways to kill them. She is using this cell bank to develop two different projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America (LLSA). With these funds, she is studying whether the combination of fludarabine, the first line treatment for CLL patients, with small amounts of either of two drugs, GRN163L or dasatinib, can kill CLL lymphocytes much better than fludarabine alone. More recently, she found that dasatinib alone is effective in killing the CLL cells from patients resistant to available treatments. Some of her results mentioned above have already been confirmed clinically in case reports and have also contributed to the design of ongoing clinical trials.