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Bloodwise researchers meet to share their ideas about the future of blood cancer

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
26 Oct 2016


Grantholders' Day


What is it?

On October 31st, around 300 scientists – made up of our grantholders and their lab researchers – will come together and share their research, and talk about the future of blood cancer research.

What will we hear about?

Biomarker discovery and development

Our first session will be about biomarkers, which are measurable biological indicators of a condition. These are opening up the opportunity to tailor treatment for the individual patient, so doctors can give the right treatment at the right time.

Up first, we'll hear from Dr Vikki Rand from Newcastle University. She wants to understand the biology of lymphoma in order to develop new and less toxic treatment strategies that will improve the outcome of hard to treat lymphomas.

Professor David Westhead from the University of Leeds will tell us how he is using innovative ways to harness the wealth of data we have on aggressive lymphomas in order to predict outcomes and diagnosis.

Finally, Professor Simon Wagner from the University of Leicester will be talking about how the activity of certain genes protects chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells from the effects of therapy, and will be focussing on the protection that the surrounding bone marrow environment offers.

Cancer researchers of the future

Bloodwise takes pride in supporting researchers in the early stages of their careers, helping them to develop their independent research pathway.

At Grantholders’ Day, we give early career scientists who have published an exciting paper on their Bloodwise-funded research in the past 12 months the opportunity to present their work to their peers.

Dr Sheela Abraham from the University of Glasgow will tell us how she's looking at ways to attack cancer at its roots, by targeting leukaemic stem cells. She has found that two proteins, p53 and c-Myc, are key to the survival of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) stem cells, and could be potential drug targets. Next, Dr Matthew Blunt from the University of Southampton, will present his work on how a protein called IL4, which is found on the surface of the cell, protects the cell from dying. He's found that in CLL, IL4 could be driving resistance to the drugs idelalisib and ibrutinib

The Trials Acceleration Programme Showcase

In the afternoon, we'll hear perspectives on our Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) from Professor Charlie Craddock, University of Birmingham and Professor Paresh Vyas from the University of Oxford.

Professor Claire Harrison, Guy’s & St Thomas’ will also talk about the exciting first results from the MAJIC trial, which is investigating a drug called ruxolitinib to treat myeloproliferative disorders.

Cellular immunotherapy

Cellular immunotherapy typically takes a patient’s own immune cells, re-engineers them in the lab to recognise cancer-specific biomarkers, before giving them back to the patient to trigger an anticancer attack. Immunotherapy has become a hot topic in cancer research, thanks to the potential for specific, long-term anticancer effects and promising results in several diseases.

Dr Heather Long, University of Birmingham, will tell us about how she's developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, such as Burkitt lymphomas associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection as well as those that aren’t. Professor Persis Amrolia from The Institute of Child Health will present his research on harnessing cells from the immune system to prevent leukaemia from returning after a stem cell transplant. Our final presentation will come from Professor Emma Morris, UCL, who will talk about optimising the therapeutic potential of modified immune cells.

Annual guest lecture

Neatly following on, we'll wrap up proceedings with our Guest Lecture from Dr Michel Sadelain, from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr Sadelain pioneered a type of immunotherapy called CAR19 T-cell therapy, which has made headlines round the world for its promising early results in treating relapsed, drug-resistance forms of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children. Bloodwise researchers will use this re-engineered T cell approach in a clinical trial for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma to test whether this can help patients better prepare for a stem cell transplant.


Students’ and Clinical Fellows’ Day


What is it?

On 1st November, our meeting for PhD students and clinical research training fellows takes place. First year students present their work, whilst second and third year students summarise their research in a poster. As with our Grantholders’ Day, the event provides an excellent opportunity for all the students to communicate their exciting research findings and develop ideas with each other.

What will we hear about?

Nine students will be presenting a diverse programme of research, including immunotherapy, cancer evolution and characterising genes that drive cancer in a variety of blood cancers. After lunch, researchers will get the opportunity to view posters presented by other students.

Finishing up the day, we'll hear career perspectives and advice from Professor Hans Strauss, Director of The Institute of Immunity and Transplantation at UCL, and Dr Marc Mansour, a Bloodwise clinical Bennett Fellow.

We are really looking forward to hearing about all the exciting research that Bloodwise are funding, thanks to the support from you. Watch this space for a roundup of the day’s discussion in a weeks’ time!

Research like this can only happen thanks to the generous support from you. Find out more on how you can ensure we continue to beat blood cancer.

Find out more about our life-changing research here >

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