From a 2021 interview with Ann Mullally, MD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Q. What is your history with the MPNRF?
Dr. Mullally: I’ve received for my laboratory a total of five grants from the MPN Research Foundation over approximately 10 years. The most recent grant is a collaborative grant with Dr. Rebekka Schneider, looking at biomarkers in MPN. Initially, a lot of those projects focused on the genes that we know are the key causative genes of MPN. And in particular, we focused on JAK2 and Calreticulin mutations.
Q. How has your MPN research progressed?
Dr. Mullally: Over more recent years, we’ve increasingly been looking at the mutations that co-occur with JAK2 or Calr, and are associated with risk of progression of MPN, progression to myelofibrosis or even leukemia. What we’ve been also doing is integrating genetics with basic clinical and lab parameters, and now also with bone marrow pathology, and trying to identify things in the bone marrow that could be detectable early in the course of the disease by standard techniques, which could be used as predictors of progression, or biomarkers of MPN.
Q. Where is your laboratory work heading?
Dr. Mullally: Ultimately, what we’re most interested in is what we call actionable biomarkers, that not just are predictive of risk of progression, but biomarkers where we could intervene and block whatever pathway is activated to prevent progression or even prevent the development of MPN.