Professor Freda Stevenson, whose work has been funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research for many years, has become the first ever UK recipient of the prestigious Jean Bernard Life Time Achievement Award. The award is given by the European Haematology Association each year to recognise an individual scientist’s outstanding contribution to the advancement of haematology.
Since 1970 the focus of Professor Stevenson and her team’s research at the University of Southampton has been on how white blood cells called B lymphocytes give rise to leukaemias and lymphomas.
“I was fortunate to discover a way of predicting the behaviour of a common leukaemia that is now included in patient management,” says Professor Stevenson.
Professor Stevenson has also developed gene-based vaccines for blood cancers and other types of cancer. These treatments ‘train’ the immune system to recognise certain target proteins expressed by cancer cells. They are applicable to several cancers and being tested in clinical trials.
“It is a great honour to have been selected for the 2014 award,” says Professor Stevenson. “Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is the bedrock of funding for research in haematology in the UK. It aims to take basic research into clinical practice and I and my group in Southampton have been supported in this for many years. I am grateful to the charity and its fundraisers, and I am pleased that the work we have done together has been recognised.”