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Cardiff clinician scientist wins national prize

03 April 2009

Dr Saman Hewamana receiving the Hamblin Prize from Professor Pettitt, Chairman of the UK CLL ForumDr Saman Hewamana receiving the Hamblin Prize from Professor Pettitt, Chairman of the UK CLL Forum

A Clinical Fellow from the School of Medicine has been awarded the 2008 Hamblin Prize by the UK Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) Forum, the organisation for clinicians, scientists and patients that aims to advance the care of those with this form of cancer.

Dr Saman Hewamana, School of Medicine, secured the prestigious honour in recognition of authoring the most significant Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia research papers during the previous year, including first author papers in Blood, Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

One of Dr Hewamana’s most significant findings in the past year has been the discovery that large amounts of a protein called NF-kB are linked to the growth of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most common form of the disease in adults in the UK. He was able to show that an experimental drug, tested in patients' cells in the laboratory, can block NF-kB action, resulting in the death of leukaemia cells.

Importantly, his research discovered that the new drug can kill leukaemia cells in samples derived from patients who are resistant to conventional chemotherapy.

Dr Chris Pepper and Dr Paul Brennan, School of Medicine, said "This is a richly deserved recognition of the work that Sam has done with us over the last three years. He is an outstanding clinician scientist with a very bright future in translational medicine".

Dr Hewamana’s research was funded by Leukaemia Research UK.

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