Dr Khan graduated from University of Leicester in 2013 and obtained his Medicine (MBChB) degree. He was successfully able to obtain the competitive post as an Academic Foundation Trainee which he completed in Royal Derby Hospital and Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre. During this time, he performed a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the effect of venous thromboembolism on mortality in breast cancer. After this, he pursued the academic route further and was appointed as a NIHR academic clinical fellow (ACF) in Haematology at Royal Liverpool Hospital. As an ACF, he had the opportunity to complete a lab-based project assessing the mechanism of acquired drug resistance in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The preliminary work carried out formed the basis of a successful MRC Clinical Pharmacology fellowship.
Elucidation of chemoimmunotherapy resistance mechanisms in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia through a proteomics approach
Chemoimmunotherapy with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR) remains the standard frontline treatment for fit patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Although FCR generally produces effective cytoreduction, most patients relapse due to the expansion of residual drug-resistant clones. The mechanisms underlying chemoimmunotherapy resistance are poorly understood and only partly explained by genomic alterations. The aim of Umair’s project is to elucidate these mechanisms using a proteomics approach by comparing differential protein expression between baseline samples before treatment and at relapse. The subsequent aim is to then combine the proteomic dataset with genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomics datasets, performing advanced bioinformatics to comprehensively understand mechanisms of drug resistance. Improving our understanding of mechanisms of drug resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will lead to identification of new drug targets and serve as a model to investigate resistance to other treatment.
Working with industry
During his Fellowship Dr Khan has worked with Roche. He says:
“The MRC Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics fellowship program has been unique in providing opportunities to engage with industry partners. It has been beneficial to me at numerous levels. Firstly, the insight from industry supervisor at Roche has often provided a different perspective to my project compared to other supervisors which has helped enhance the project. Secondly, through the collaboration, I have been able to network with, and learn from experts in the field related to my thesis. My 3-month secondment with my industry partner will involve working on validation of potential biomarkers with their world-class proteomics team which I hope to be invaluable to my thesis and personal experience gained.”