The Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service (HMDS) based at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds celebrates its 21st birthday in 2014.
The HMDS laboratory, which is run by Professor Andrew Jack and colleagues, provides a single, centralised, blood cancer diagnostic service for the 14 hospitals in the Yorkshire Cancer Network, Yorkshire Coast Cancer Network and the Humber Cancer Network. Samples from every new patient with blood cancer in the network are sent to the HMDS laboratory by blood disease doctors – haematologists – to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
While a single diagnostic service within a cancer network isn’t typical, the HMDS has been described by the Department of Health's Cancer Reform Strategy as ‘the model for delivery of complex diagnostic services’.
In some parts of the country a haematologist might only see one case a year of rarer types of blood cancer. The expertise at the HMDS means that misdiagnosis is prevented and the patient receives the best treatment available as a result. Diagnosis also follows the latest blood cancer classification systems, allowing for consistent data collection on blood cancers.
As well as receiving referrals from across the UK, the HMDS works with other cancer registries to improve blood cancer classifications and consistent diagnoses.
The HMDS is part of the Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN), which is funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Together with epidemiologists and statisticians at the University of York, HMRN uses data from every patient diagnosed by the HMDS and follows their patient journey, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. This data is extrapolated to the UK population and has led to the most accurate and detailed survival and incidence figures, broken down by age, gender and biological features, on all types of blood cancers in the world.
To mark the 21st birthday of the HMDS, the team are hosting a conference for fellow haematologists at the Leeds Royal Armouries on 4 July. The event, entitled ‘The Past, Present and Future of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Diagnosis’, has an exciting line-up of expert speakers from across the UK. The event has been accredited by the Royal College of Pathologists for 4 CPD credits. More details can be found here.