Han Yao

Han Yao Contact info

Han Yao

Drug Quality and Registration (DruQuaR) group
Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent (Belgium)

Phone: + 32 (0)9 264.81.01 (secr. 81.01)
Fax: + 32 (0)9 264.81.93
E-mail: Han.Yao@UGent.be



Ph.D. research

Title: Functional quality characterization of asparaginases, solving clinical bottlenecks in the treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a fast-growing cancer of the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell involved in the body's immune system originating from the bone marrow. L-asparaginase (ASNase) is one of the key components of successful pediatric therapy for ALL. ASNase catalyzes the hydrolysis of L-asparagine into L-aspartic acid and ammonia. L-asparagine is a major requirement by the cells for the production of protein. Lymphatic tumor cells require huge amounts of asparagine to keep up with their rapid malignant growth. Therefore L-asparagine is an essential amino acid for the growth of tumor cells. The presence of ASNase deprives tumor cells of an important growth factor and they fail to survive.

Despite new sources and forms of ASNase are currently being explored, some issues still hamper the full clinical exploitation of ASNase in the treatment of ALL. Our goal is to develop a functional-rationalized quality monograph for ASNase, which can serve as a basis for generic ASNases, for pharmacopoeial purposes or in product development and stability studies.

Keywords: L-asparaginases, quality characterization, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia