The University of Cambridge has been named as a Centre of Excellence by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. A plaque was unveiled on 7 September at the Cambridge Clinical School’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital campus. A plaque was also unveiled at Addenbrooke’s Hospital where many of the charity’s researchers are also clinicians.
The charity has £9.5 million currently invested in 23 research projects at the Centre, which has been recognised for its world-class research into how blood cancers develop, as well as research into new treatments and improvements in diagnosis for lymphoma and some of the rarer blood cancers.
Cambridge is home to some of the world’s leading specialists in the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), a group of blood disorders related to leukaemia that affect around 3,300 people in the UK every year. Sustained investment by the charity at Cambridge has led to significant improvements in the diagnosis for MPN patients.
Scientists work closely with doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to ensure that any breakthroughs in diagnosis benefit blood cancer patients across Cambridge and the surrounding area as soon as possible.
Another of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research's pioneering projects at Cambridge is using state of the art technology to identify the genes and ‘transcription factors’ that cause leukaemia to develop. Transcription factors are molecules that control the activity of genes in blood cells – switching them on or off. When these malfunction the resulting genetic faults can lead to leukaemia. By understanding exactly what goes wrong, drugs can be developed to prevent and repair these genetic malfunctions.
The unveiling of the Centre of Excellence is part of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research's plans to focus investment in leading research institutions across the UK.
David Hall, 79, who is being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for the blood disorder myelodysplasia, said: “The clinicians and specialist nurses at Addenbrooke’s are absolutely wonderful – to me it’s the finest hospital in the world. We owe it to future generations to encourage research and, as patients, to cooperate, if necessary taking part in trials – it’s the only way things will move forward.”
Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “Cambridge has an outstanding record of research into leukaemia, lymphoma and blood disorders, which have led to significant benefits for patients. It is this achievement that truly makes it a ‘Centre of Excellence’.”
Professor Alan Warren, of the Department of Haematology at the University of Cambridge, said: “We’re delighted to have been named as one of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s Centres of Excellence. Thanks to research, treatments for blood cancers have improved rapidly over recent years and the support of charities such as Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is vital to keep this going.”