Senior Investigator Research Interests
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rare, highly fatal, blood cancer. Although most younger patients treated with chemotherapy will achieve an initial apparent “complete” remission, subsequent treatment with either further chemotherapy or allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) cannot prevent subsequent death from leukemic relapse in many. The outlook is often especially suboptimal for those diagnosed with AML but not eligible for this intensive therapy due to advanced age or medical co-morbidity. Recent advances in the scientific understanding of the genetic diversity of AML have led to the development of targeted therapies, but the optimal way to integrate such agents into a comprehensive approach for an individual AML patient has yet to be defined. The Laboratory of Myeloid Malignancies Section focuses on research in translational medicine and precision oncology to improve outcomes for patients with AML.
The primary research goal of Dr. Hourigan’s lab is to improve our ability to predict which patients with AML in remission are at risk of relapse and who may benefit from additional therapy. Development of prognostic tools may also facilitate quantification of the efficacy of therapeutic interventions and be used to select the most appropriate next therapy for a patient during treatment. This “measurable residual disease” (MRD) concept is the foundation for a personalized medicine approach to AML, now being tested in clinical protocols. These efforts are strengthened by collaborations with a variety of clinical colleagues from leukemia and transplant centers from around the world.
The work carried out by Dr. Hourigan’s laboratory should help bring clinicians one step closer to developing personalized and effective treatment approaches for patients with AML.
Opening of the Myeloid Malignancies Clinic and PEARL15 Clinical Protocol
Opening of the Myeloid Malignancies Clinic and PEARL15 Clinical Protocol at NIH, July 2015.
Meet the Team
Christopher Hourigan, M.D., D.Phil.
Christopher Hourigan received both his medical degree and D. Phil. in Human Immunology from Oxford University. After residency training in medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, he joined the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was both a clinical fellow in medical oncology and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Immunology and Immunotherapy research program. He is ABIM board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. Dr. Hourigan came to the NHLBI in 2012. After almost three years as an Assistant Clinical Investigator, Dr Hourigan was appointed as an Investigator in March 2015, and received tenure as a Senior Investigator in March 2022. Dr. Hourigan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and the recipient of the NHLBI Directors Award, the NHLBI Orloff Award, the NIH Bench to Bedside Award, the NIH Directors Challenge Innovation Award, an American College of Physicians Early Career Physician Award, the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Young Physician-Scientist Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).