Henry Winter
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Sheffield named a 'Centre of Excellence' in blood cancer research

Henry Winter
Posted by
25 Oct 2010

Patients joined researchers and doctors on Saturday 23 October to help unveil Sheffield as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ of the national blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has £1.7 million currently invested in five projects at the University of Sheffield. The research is focused on two important areas of blood cancer research – improving treatments for children with leukaemia and developing new drugs for patients with myeloma, a blood cancer which affects older adults.

The naming of Sheffield as a Centre of Excellence is part of the charity’s plans to focus investment in leading research institutions across the UK. A plaque was unveiled at the University of Sheffield’s School of Medicine. Members of the public and charity supporters were also given laboratory demonstrations and presentations on the research taking place.

Sheffield is carrying out world-class research into myeloma, a cancer which causes devastating bone damage and remains incurable. Leukaemia & Lymphoma have supported research into myeloma for over 15 years in Sheffield. Thanks to this long-term investment, the team have developed a new drug for patients that prevents and repairs bone damage caused by myeloma cells in the bone marrow.

Researchers are also investigating why certain children respond differently to a common leukaemia drug. The team are developing a test which will allow doctors to tailor treatment for children so they get the exact amount of the drug they need, but avoid unnecessary toxic side-effects.

The charity’s researchers at the University of Sheffield work closely with doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to ensure that any breakthroughs benefit local patients as soon as possible.

Dr David Grant, Scientific Director of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “Blood cancers can affect anyone from one month old babies to 100-year-old adults. The research by our teams in Sheffield into childhood leukaemia and myeloma has been genuinely pioneering and has made a significant contribution to improving diagnosis and treatment for these two terrible cancers in recent years. The benefit it continues to deliver to patients truly makes it a ‘Centre of Excellence’.”

Professor Peter Croucher, of the University of Sheffield, said: “Investment by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has been vital in making Sheffield a leader in the field of research into myeloma and childhood leukaemia. We’re very proud of the accolade of being named a ‘Centre of Excellence’.”