Laura Pickering
Posted by
Laura Pickering

How your money transforms lives

Laura Pickering
Posted by
Laura Pickering
14 May 2015

Every 14 minutes someone in the UK is given the devastating news that they have a blood cancer. We want to be there for each and every one of them.

We’ve made amazing progress since our story began, but we still have a long way to go to.

Too many lives are still lost, and the side effects of treatment are often incredibly harsh. We want 100% survival and the best possible quality of life for all blood cancer patients – anything less is unacceptable.


We want every child to be free from the effects of blood cancer

We’ve changed the world for children with blood cancer. But we need to change it even more.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhood leukaemia. When our story began in 1960, fewer than 1 in 10 children survived the disease. Thanks to the research we’ve helped fund over the years, more than 9 in 10 now survive – one of our proudest achievements. But the powerful treatments that save lives can also leave damaging side effects and compromise children’s quality of life.

With our UKALL2011 study we’re refining the treatment to reduce side effects and the risk of relapse even further, and gathering insights from parents about the impact that a diagnosis has on quality of life.

We know that for every child to survive ALL we need to look beyond the UK, so we’re leading discussions to set up Europe wide trials for new therapies in those children who don’t respond well to treatment or whose disease has come back.

And our researchers understand more than ever before about the biology of the disease. We know that the origin of leukaemia is in the womb, but also that a second ‘event’ is needed to trigger the development of the disease. If we can find and target the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the potential cancer, we could even stop children getting leukaemia in the first place.

We know what we need to do to make sure that every single child with blood cancer survives and goes on to live their life to the full - thanks to you we'll get there.

Children like Nancy, who was diagnosed with ALL when she was just four years old, now have a better outlook thanks to our research. Hear from her mum, Kerry, about the impact her diagnosis has had on Nancy and their family. 


We can beat the most common type of leukaemia

We believe that chronic lymphocytic leukaemia can be beaten within the next 15 years.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common leukaemia in the western world. But until recently there were very few options for treating the disease. We’ve helped discover some really promising new treatments.

We’ve learnt a lot from our work on chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Most people can now take a daily tablet that keeps the disease in check, allowing them to live a near normal quality of life and lifespan.

Our understanding of the biology of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is becoming good enough to replicate this success. We can use low toxicity therapies that specifically target the faulty signals at the root of the cancer, rather than attacking healthy and cancerous cells alike.

With the data, technology and knowledge that we now have at our fingertips, our progress is constantly accelerating – there’s never been a better time to push on and finish the job.

Imagine being able to say that we’ve beaten the most common type of leukaemia. We're one step closer thanks to you. 

Hear more from Kate, who has a type of CLL, about the impact it's had on her life and how we're supporting her throughout her cancer experience. 

We bring hope, where before there was none

Our ground-breaking Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is changing the way clinical trials are run in the UK and getting promising new treatments to more patients, more quickly.

We need clinical trials to make sure new drugs are safe and effective, before they’re given to lots of patients. But trials can currently take up to ten years to complete. That’s too long for patients who have no other hope of a cure.

We’ve set up a network of leading treatment centres to cut through the red tape, deliver faster results and provide patients with access to emerging treatments – wherever they live in the UK.

We’ve invested £8 million in the programme already, and it’s having a big impact: blood cancer clinical trials are on track to be completed within two years.

Thanks to your support, we can keep funding TAP, so we can deliver faster trials and bring hope to more people with blood cancer.

If you want to find out more about our work on TAP, read our blog from Shamyla Saddique, who works at our central TAP hub in Birmingham.


We’re putting patients at the heart of everything we do

Each person diagnosed with a blood cancer is an individual who will have a unique experience throughout their treatment and beyond.

Data and evidence about blood cancer exists, but there’s currently no single comprehensive source telling us what people affected by blood cancer really need.

We’re changing that. We’re gaining first-hand knowledge from patients and their families all the time in focus groups, through our online community and via surveys. We’re listening to the opinions of experts in research, policy and clinical care. We’re adding insights from national data shared with us by a wide range of sources.

It's helping us understand what patient services are needed most, what policies to lobby hardest for and what research areas to invest in – with the ultimate aim of making patients’ lives better, so they’re able to live life to the full.

We’re talking to people affected by blood cancer and shaping what we do around the things they tell us. Your support will help us deliver what people need.

The results of the first phase of our Patient Need research are in  read more about what patients really need and what we're going to do to improve patients' lives.