Dr Sylvie Freeman MBChB MRCP DPhil FRCPath

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Clinical Senior Lecturer in ImmunoHaematology, Consultant Haematologist

Contact details

Department of Clinical Immunology
Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Consultant Hematologist / Clinician Scientist (PhD and Postdoctoral training at Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK)

Specialist expertise in immunophenotypic diagnosis /monitoring of hematological malignancies with particular interest in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) / myelodysplasia /leukaemic stem cell.

Established track record in characterisation of surface markers in myeloid malignancies/ myelopoiesis (MRC clinician scientist) and lead on immunophenotyping in the AML MRC trials (CRUK /NIHR funded).

Has developed and leads the UK reference laboratory framework for immunophenotypic detection of MRD /eukaemic stem cells in UK MRC acute myeloid leukaemia trials (AML16 / AML17)


  • Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (Clinical Haematology) - 2003
  • FRCPath (Haematology) - 2002
  • DPhil, University of Oxford - 1996
  • MRCP (London) - 1990
  • MB ChB (Hons), University of Birmingham - 1987


Sylvie Freeman qualified with a MBChB (Hons) from the University of Birmingham Medical School in 1987. She went on to clinical haematology specialist training in Oxford, then was awarded a MRC Training Fellowship for a DPhil in molecular haematology followed by a MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship at the Institute of Molecular Haematology in Oxford. She completed her haematology clinical training at UCH and Bristol before joining the departments of Clinical Haematology and Immunology in 2003 as Senior Lecturer



  • MBChB - second year Foundations of Medical and Science Practice 3 Immunology and Haematology course
  • BMedSci - second year
  • MPharm - second year


Dr Freeman is a member of UK National Cancer Research Institute Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) Working Party, European LeukemiaNet AMLMRD Working Group and Co–Investigator in UK NCRI AML trials (AML16/17/18). Her research has focused on predicting treatment resistance principally by monitoring residual disease (MRD) in AML/myelodysplasia  and has been supported by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, BloodWise and National Institute for Health Research.

Her study of older patients in the AML16 (CRUK TRICC) generated data (Freeman et al., Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013) that underpins the first trial of MRD-directed therapy in older patients (AML18). The collaborative analysis of younger patients in AML17 (MRD study funded by NIHR, Prof Grimwade King’s College, London)) has produced important data on the prognostic relevence of molecular MRD (Ivey et al New England Journal of Medicine 2016) as well as flow cytometric MRD. In addition to flow cytometric MRD monitoring by standard leukaemic-aberrant-immunophenotypes her group are developing novel assays tracking leukaemic-stem-cell-enriched populations and pretreatment predictors of treatment resistance with international and industrial collaborators. The latter include functional flow assays for blast/LSC sensitivity to novel agents combined with immunophenotype; simultaneous analysis of LSC immunophenotype/redox state/cell cycle activity. They also have a simple MFC-assay that might identify prior to treatment AML patients unlikely to respond to standard intensive chemotherapy by blood frequency of stem-cell-like blasts (British Journal of Haematology 2015, LLR TARP application with Prof Russell, Robert Hill for NCR AML18). In collaboration with Prof Craddock/Prof Vyas (Oxford), they have established potential of LSC tracking in parallel with conventional MFC MRD pre and post allogeneic transplantation (Leukemia 2014) (LLR-TARP to investigate this further in the FIGARO RIC-transplantation study). In addition her group investigate the expression of cell surface molecules in AML trial patients that are targets for established and novel antibody directed therapy (2015 American Society of Hematology oral abstract Significance of Blast CD33 Expression for Effect of Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin at Different Doses in Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia

With her established track record for characterisation of surface markers in myeloid malignancies/myelopoiesis she jointly oversees an immunophenotyping service for largest clinical immunohaematology laboratory in UK. This involves training of biomedical scientists, clinical scientists and clinical research fellows.

Other activities

  • UK National Cancer Research Institute Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Working Party
  • European LeukemiaNet AMLMRD Working Party
  • Co–Investigator in UK NCRI AML trials (AML16/17/18)


Ivey A, Hills RK, Simpson MA, Jovanovic JV, Gilkes A, Grech A, Patel Y, Bhudia N, Farah H, Mason J, Wall K, Akiki S, Griffiths M, Solomon E, McCaughan F, Linch DC, Gale RE, Vyas P, Freeman SD, Russell N, Burnett AK, Grimwade D; UK National Cancer Research Institute AML Working Group (2016) Assessment of minimal residual disease in standard risk AML. New England Journal of Medicine 374(5):422-33 (IF 55.87)

Khan N, Freeman SD, Virgo P, Couzens S, Richardson P, Thomas I, Grech A, Vyas P, Grimwade D, Russell NH, Burnett AK and Hills RK (2015) An immunophenotypic pre‐treatment predictor for poor response to induction chemotherapy in older acute myeloid leukaemia patients: blood frequency of CD34+ CD38low blastsBritish Journal of Haematology 170(1):80-4 (IF 4.7)

Grimwade D and Freeman SD (2014) Defining minimal residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia: which platforms are ready for "Prime Time"? Blood 124(23):3345-55 Invited Review article (IF 10.45)

Bradbury C, Houlton AE, Akiki S, Gregg R, Rindl M, Khan J, Ward J, Khan N, Griffiths M, Nagra S, Hills R, Burnett A, Russell N, Vyas P, Grimwade D, Craddock C and Freeman SD (2015) Prognostic value of monitoring a candidate immunophenotypic leukemic stem/progenitor cell population in patients allografted for acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia 29(4):988-91 (IF 10.43)

Freeman SD, Virgo P, Couzens S, Grimwade D, Russell N, Hills RK and Burnett AK (2013) Prognostic relevance of treatment response measured by flow cytometric residual disease detection in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia. J Clin Oncol 31(32):4123-31 (IF 18.428)

Craddock C, Quek L, Goardon N, Freeman S, Siddique S, Raghavan M, Aztberger A, Schuh A, Grimwade D, Ivey A, Virgo P, Hills R, McSkeane T, Arrazi J, Knapper S, Brookes C, Davies B, Price A, Wall K, Griffiths M, Cavenagh J, Majeti R, Weissman I, Burnett A and Vyas P (2013) Azacitidine fails to eradicate leukemic stem/progenitor cell populations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplasia. Leukemia 27(5):1028-36 (IF 10.43)

Burnett AK, Russell NH, Hills RK, Kell J, Freeman S, Kjeldsen L, Hunter AE, Yin J, Craddock CF, Dufva IH, Wheatley K and Milligan D (2012) Addition of Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin to Induction Chemotherapy Improves Survival in Older Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. J Clin Oncol 30(32):3924-31 (IF 18.428)

Cobbold M, De La Peña H, Norris A, Polefrone JM, Qian J, English AM, Cummings KL, Penny S, Turner JE, Cottine J, Abelin JG, Malaker SA, Zarling AL, Huang HW, Goodyear O, Freeman SD, Shabanowitz J, Pratt G, Craddock C, Williams ME, Hunt DF and Engelhard VH (2013) MHC class I-associated phosphopeptides are the targets of memory-like immunity in leukemia. Sci Transl Med 5(203):203ra125 (IF 15.843)