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20 May 2010
Cardiff has been named by the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research charity as its first Centre of Excellence.
Cardiff is recognised for its world-class research into the two most common forms of adult leukaemia - acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). This year alone, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the national blood cancer charity, has invested more than £1million in new projects here.
More than 2,000 adults are diagnosed with AML every year and 3,000 adults with CLL. CLL can be controlled by drugs, but remains incurable and fewer than 50% of AML patients currently survive for more than five years. Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research currently has six research projects running in Cardiff dedicated to improving diagnosis and treatment for these two types of blood cancer.
The unveiling of the Centre of Excellence, based at the Cardiff University School of Medicine, is the start of the charity’s plans to focus investment in leading research institutions across the UK. It plans to unveil up to ten Centres of Excellence, with Cardiff the first to be named. Over recent years, the University has been a key player in driving the charity’s research into better treatments and cures for leukaemia patients.
University researchers are working closely with doctors at the University of Wales Hospital to ensure any breakthroughs in research benefits local leukaemia patients as soon as possible. A new drug for CLL, called LC-1 was recently developed in Cardiff laboratories and a clinical trial using the drug will be available soon to patients at the University Hospital of Wales.
Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, who attended the unveiling of the Cardiff Centre of Excellence, said: "Cardiff University truly is a Centre of Excellence in research into adult leukaemia. Our scientists here are consistently helping to improve treatment and diagnosis for patients in Cardiff and across the UK."
Professor Alan Burnett, Head of the Department of Haematology at Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: "The concentration of so much expertise and resources here at Cardiff University not only enables collaboration and increases the pace of progress but it also offers a fantastic environment to train up promising young scientists for the future. This is essential for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s long-term goal of achieving a cure for blood cancers."
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has invested over £6.5 million in research into blood cancers in Cardiff over the past 10 years. The charity’s peer-reviewed funding committee has just approved investment in two new long term research projects in Cardiff, beginning in February 2011.
Dr Richard Darley’s research group was granted £659,000 for a three-year project which will identify how the presence of certain genes in patients’ AML cells can dictate that they will respond poorly to current treatment. By identifying these ‘poor prognosis’ genes, the scientists can develop new drugs to target them.
Dr Chris Pepper’s research group was granted £412,000 to continue their work on the critical role a protein called CD38 plays in the development of CLL. The three-year research programme will investigate exactly how the protein works, leading to new drugs for CLL.
Caption: (Left to right) Professor Alan Burnett, Head of Haematology, School of Medicine, Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Dr David Grant - Scientific Director of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research
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