Dr Sujith Samarasinghe completed his medical training at Imperial School of Medicine, London in 1998. He did his paediatric haematology training in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and University College Hospital, London. He was awarded a PhD in 2010 from University College London in the field of immunotherapy for leukaemia. In 2011, he was appointed as a consultant haematologist in Newcastle but returned to GOSH in 2014. His areas of expertise include childhood leukaemia and aplastic anaemia. He is a clinical trial coordinator for the national UK Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia trial, 2011, the national lead for childhood aplastic anaemia and supportive care and a coinvestigator on two CAR T-cell studies in childhood leukaemia.
- Bone marrow failure
- Aplastic anaemia
- Childhood Leukaemia
Dr Samarasinghe’s major interest is in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) which is the most common cancer in children. The UK ALL group, of which Dr Samarasinghe is part of, has been conducting clinical trials in childhood ALL for over 50 years, with a focus on improving survival while minimizing toxicity. Today long-term event-free survival rates are nearly 90%, but despite this improved outcome, therapy remains nonspecific and toxic.
The group continue to pursue the development of targeted therapies that are less toxic. They recently published a world first; successfully administering CAR T-cells from an adult donor into a child with relapsed ALL. Dr Samarasinghe is a co-investigator on two novel CAR T-cell immunotherapy studies and is leading on taking this to front line therapy in the next ALL trial.
The UK ALL group have also published novel methods of assessing remission in childhood leukaemia. This will enable us to target therapy more effectively and thus reduce side effects.
The UK ALL group has also helped develop better transplant regimens for Aplastic Anaemia in particular from unrelated donors. This has led to better outcomes following transplantation with aplastic anaemia.
Wolthers BO, Frandsen TL, Baruchel A, Attarbaschi A, Barzilai S, Colombini A, Escherich G, Grell K, Inaba H, Kovacs G, Liang DC, Mateos M, Mondelaers V, Möricke A, Ociepa T, Samarasinghe S, Silverman LB, van der Sluis IM, Stanulla M,
Vrooman LM, Yano M, Zapotocka E, Schmiegelow K; Ponte di Legno Toxicity Working Group. Asparaginase-associated pancreatitis in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: an observational Ponte di Legno Toxicity Working Group study. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Sep;18(9):1238-1248.
Qasim W, Zhan H, Samarasinghe S, Adams S, Amrolia P, Stafford S, Butler K, Rivat C, Wright G, Somana K, Ghorashian S, Pinner D, Ahsan G, Gilmour K, Lucchini G, Inglott S, Mifsud W, Chiesa R, Peggs KS, Chan L, Farzeneh F, Thrasher AJ, Vora
A, Pule M, Veys P. Molecular remission of infant B-ALL after infusion of universal TALEN gene-edited CAR T cells. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Jan 25;9(374)
O'Connor D, Moorman AV, Wade R, Hancock J, Tan RM, Bartram J, Moppett J, Schwab C, Patrick K, Harrison CJ, Hough R, Goulden N, Vora A, Samarasinghe S. Use of Minimal Residual Disease Assessment to Redefine Induction Failure in Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Feb 20;35(6):660-667
Alexander S, Pole JD, Gibson P, Lee M, Hesser T, Chi SN, Dvorak CC, Fisher B, Hasle H, Kanerva J, Möricke A, Phillips B, Raetz E, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Samarasinghe S, Schmiegelow K, Tissing W, Lehrnbecher T, Sung L; International
Pediatric Oncology Mortality Classification Group. Classification of treatment-related mortality in children with cancer: a systematic assessment. Lancet Oncol. 2015 Dec;16(16):e604-10.
Killick SB, Bown N, Cavenagh J, Dokal I, Foukaneli T, Hill A, Hillmen P, Ireland R, Kulasekararaj A, Mufti G, Snowden JA, Samarasinghe S, Wood A, Marsh JC; British Society for Standards in Haematology. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult aplastic anaemia. Br J Haematol. 2016 Jan;172(2):187-207
O'Connor D, Bate J, Wade R, Clack R, Dhir S, Hough R, Vora A, Goulden N, Samarasinghe S. Infection-related mortality in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: an analysis of infectious deaths on UKALL2003. Blood. 2014 Aug14;124(7):1056-61.
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