This month we visited the UK Biocentre in Stockport to see how our recent investment in a groundbreaking project is laying the foundations for life-saving research for years to come.
The Childhood Leukaemia Cell Bank is the first centralised childhood leukaemia bank of its kind in the world. A £490,502 investment by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research will enable the collection of detailed genetic samples of every child diagnosed with leukaemia in the UK. These samples are vital to answering key research questions and furthering knowledge of how childhood blood cancer develops.
Samples that have already been collected from children in previous clinical trials and stored in separate banks across the country are in the process of being transferred to the new cell bank.
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research have been investing in childhood leukaemia cell banks since 2003, as part of nationwide clinical trials for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Cell banks have already proved essential in 18 high profile research projects, which have used over 5,000 DNA and cell samples. The new centralised bank in Manchester is expected to collect over 2,000 new samples each year from children diagnosed with leukaemia.
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is the first charity to make use of the state-of-the-art DNA and tissue storage facilities at the UK Biocentre in Stockport. The facility will coordinate the sampling, collection, processing and storage of tissue, cell and DNA.
We are reaching an exciting time in our understanding of genetics and how it is linked to the development of cancer. Dr Tim Peakman, Executive Director at UK Biocentre, explained the importance of maintaining optimum conditions for cell samples, so we can take advantage of these advances in science.
“We are fast approaching the point where you will be able to sequence the whole genome for between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars,” he says. “It’s very important that you give high quality DNA that is not broken up or fragmented.”
The Childhood Leukaemia Cell Bank is a far-sighted project that will ensure that lives will be saved in the future by cutting-edge genetic research.
Henry Winter - Science Communications Team