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Guy's Hospital recognised as a Centre of Excellence in blood cancer research

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13 Dec 2010

A plaque was unveiled on Monday 13 December at Guy’s Hospital to mark its status as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ of the blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

The charity is investing £1.5 million into research at Guy’s Hospital to improve treatments for adults with leukaemia. Researchers here work closely with doctors at the hospital to ensure that the latest breakthroughs in treatments benefit patients in the local area.

Former leukaemia patient Lesley Tillett, 52, bravely shared her story with charity guests, expressing her thanks to the doctors, nurses and scientists, who have helped her to fight this life-threatening disease.

Leslie was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), a particularly aggressive form of leukaemia in March 2005. Although she is now in remission, she continues to attend the clinic at Guy’s Hospital for regular check ups.

Scientist Professor David Grimwade, who is an expert in APL, leads a long-term research programme into the causes of this blood cancer at King’s College London’s Department of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, based at Guy’s Hospital.

Professor David Grimwade’s research was the first to truly personalise treatments for adults with leukaemia using a test that accurately predicts relapse.

This research, funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, used the minimal residual disease (MRD) test to identify signs of relapse much earlier than was previously possible, allowing doctors to modify treatments accordingly.

The results of the study proved that MRD monitoring can improve outcome for patients with APL. Scientists now hope to replicate the success of the MRD test for patients with other blood cancers.

King’s College London was named a Centre of Excellence in July this year. Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research have £4 million invested in total into 14 research projects at these institutions, which are recognised for research both into adult leukaemia and also rare blood disorders such as the myelodyplastic syndromes (MDS) and aplastic anaemia.

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “It’s a real privilege to be here at Guy’s Hospital and witness the outstanding progress being made in treatments for patients with blood cancers. It is this achievement that truly makes it a ‘Centre of Excellence’.”

Professor David Grimwade, added, “We are delighted to be named as one of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s Centres of Excellence. Treatments for blood cancers are improving all the time, and it’s thanks to the support of charities such as Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which are vital to keep this going.”