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How we're beating other blood cancers

Posted by
12 Apr 2010

More than 5,300 people are diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, or related disorder, in the UK every year.

These blood disorders, which include the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are difficult to treat and diagnose. But this is fast changing.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is currently investing more than £4million into vital research to improve diagnosis and develop new and better treatments for patients touched by these blood disorders.

Better diagnosis

Our researchers in Cambridge were among the first in the world to identify the gene responsible for causing a group of blood disorders, called the myeloproliferative disorders (MPN). Most patients with MPN have abnormalities in this gene, called JAK2, in their blood cells. Identifying this gene has hugely improved the speed and accuracy with which these patients are diagnosed. This means they are able to receive the right treatment, sooner.

Finding the cause

Elsewhere in Cambridge a team of our scientists is investigating what causes a group of blood disorders, called the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), to develop. This research has linked MDS to defects in patients' biological machinery that translate genetic information into blood cells.

Understanding how this occurs will allow us to develop new and better treatments.

Improving treatments

In Oxford, our researchers are developing highly sophisticated models to test new drugs for patients with MDS.

These models mimic the genetic abnormalities present in the blood cells of patients with MDS. This is allowing our scientists to test ways in which these abnormalities can be targeted, which will lead to the development of new treatments.


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