Henry Winter
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Original Calendar Girls help unveil Yorkshire Centre of Excellence in blood cancer research

Henry Winter
Posted by
13 Oct 2010

Original WI ‘Calendar Girls’ Tricia Stewart and Lynda Logan joined researchers and doctors on Tuesday 12 October to help unveil Leeds and York as a ‘Yorkshire Centre of Excellence’ of the national blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has £7.5 million currently invested in 11 research projects in the University of Leeds and the University of York. Researchers at the two institutions collaborate on several groundbreaking projects.

One such project is the ‘Yorkshire & Humberside Haematology Research Network’, which is studying data on every newly diagnosed blood cancer patient across the region. The resource, a partnership between the University of York and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, is providing vital information to improve diagnosis and guide treatment for patients. It is also helping to identify risk factors for certain blood cancers.

Many of the charity’s researchers at the University of Leeds are also doctors and work closely with Leeds Teaching Hospitals to ensure that any breakthroughs benefit blood cancer patients in Yorkshire as soon as possible. The unveiling of the ‘Yorkshire Centre of Excellence’ is part of the charity’s plans to focus investment in leading research institutions across the UK.                        

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research fundraisers and WI ‘Calendar Girls’ Tricia Stewart and Lynda Logan attended the plaque unveiling at St James’s University Hospital. The ladies have raised over £2 million for the charity to date and their story went on to inspire a Hollywood film. They started fundraising after fellow WI member Angela Baker lost her husband to the blood cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Yorkshire Centre of Excellence has been recognised not only for its work on understanding the causes of blood cancers and improving diagnosis, but also its groundbreaking research into new treatments. Scientists at the University of Leeds are looking at the genetic make up different types of leukaemia so that more effective and less toxic drugs can be developed in the laboratory. 

Dr David Grant, Scientific Director of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “Leeds and York have an outstanding record of research and our scientists at these institutions have made a huge contribution to improving diagnosis and treatment for blood cancers in recent years. The benefit it has delivered and continues to deliver to patients in Yorkshire truly makes it a ‘Centre of Excellence’.”

Professor Andrew Jack, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “Investment by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has helped make Yorkshire a leader in the field of research into blood cancers. Collaborative projects such as the Yorkshire & Humberside Haematology Research Network mean that the region has some of the best quality data on incidents of blood cancer in the world.”

Professor Eve Roman, of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, said: “Thanks to investment from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the University of York is leading the way in uncovering the causes of blood cancers. By collaborating with institutions around Yorkshire, the accurate data we have collected on blood cancer patients gives us a unique opportunity to guide treatment for patients and discover any genetic, environmental or lifestyle factors which may be contributing to these terrible diseases.”