Adam O
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Multi-million pound boost for Cambridge scientist’s blood cancer research

Adam O
Posted by
07 Jan 2014

A £2.6 million pound grant has been awarded to a scientist at the University of Cambridge by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, to improve treatments for patients with certain blood disorders.

Professor Anthony Green, from the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, is leading the five-year programme to help increase understanding of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). MPNs are a group of blood disorders related to leukaemia that cause the normal regulation of blood cell production to break down, which creates too many blood cells and means the blood can become thick.

Symptoms vary but can include fatigue, blood clots, bleeding and bruising. MPNs develop gradually and many patients often experience mild or even no symptoms at first. The research aims to improve diagnosis by better predicting which patients' diseases will progress quickly and to develop new treatments to stop full-blown leukaemia from even starting.

Professor Green said: “Around 40,000 people are living with MPN in the UK and we lack any effective treatments if their disease advances. Transformation into leukaemia is invariably fatal.”

The Cambridge team will use cutting-edge genetic techniques to analyse tissue samples from MPN patients. This is to establish exactly how faulty genes can dictate how and whether the disease will progress, and how the genetic make-up affects the response to therapy.

Professor Chris Bunce, Research Director at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “This research will help doctors identify those patients whose disease is most likely to progress. Better treatments are desperately needed for MPNs and knowledge gained from this project could lead to the design of new targeted drugs.”

Six other staff members will be involved in the project including research assistants, a research nurse and technical lab assistant.