Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research at Bloodwise, the blood cancer research charity
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With your help we can move faster than the speed of life

Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research at Bloodwise, the blood cancer research charity
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01 Aug 2016

In 1960, when our charity first started as the ‘Leukaemia Research Fund’, practically every diagnosis of blood cancer was a death sentence. Thankfully today that’s not the case. Through the generosity of supporters like you, we’ve been able to implement ground-breaking research that’s transformed the lives of people living with blood cancer.

Every step forward has brought renewed hope to countless patients and their families. Despite this, blood cancer is still the third biggest killer and the fifth most common cancer in the UK. So it’s vitally important that we keep driving research forward.

The complexities of blood cancer create huge challenges for researchers

There are 137 different types of blood cancer which makes designing and testing new treatments very complicated for researchers. Clinical trials are at the heart of this process, enabling doctors to test potential new treatments in people for the first time. However, finding patients with the right type of blood cancer, let alone organising and running a trial used to be incredibly slow and difficult. This put the brakes on progress and also meant too few patients got the chance to take part in potentially life-saving clinical trials. The truth was research had to move faster, faster than the speed of life.

In 2011 everything changed with the launch of the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP)

The purpose of TAP is to deliver more life-saving treatments to blood cancer patients by speeding up trials. We want to get new treatments to patients faster. To do this we established a team of expert research nurses, scientists, trial co-ordinators, data analysts and statisticians.

They provide crucial support in the design, administration and analysis of trials. Connected to 13 hospitals across the UK, TAP enables more patients to take part in trials without travelling too far from home, which used to be a huge stumbling block for getting trials started. It’s why Graham was able to benefit from a life-changing, pioneering treatment for his chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), which meant he didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy (you’ll find his story in the enclosed leaflet).

Delivering the highest levels of care

TAP funding ensures that every trial has a dedicated research nurse assigned to it. This highly-skilled role is crucial to the progress of a clinical trial. As well as understanding every aspect of the research and processes, research nurses are very much focused on ensuring that patients receive the best care throughout all our trials. Without them the trials could not proceed. Just £22 could help cover an hour of a research nurse’s time.

TAP has been able to safely accelerate clinical trials

In the five years since we began, we’ve already started 16 trials and helped over 800 patients receive access to the latest ground-breaking treatments and support. But this is still very much the start for TAP. Our ambition is to open up three new trials every year until 2019.

If you believe that more people living with blood cancer should have access to the latest treatments faster, will you help TAP and the other areas of our work with a gift?

Now is the time to give TAP your support

If we want to make a difference to the lives of people living with blood cancer, we cannot afford to slow down. Now is the time to move faster, faster than the speed of life. So that we can save more lives, make treatment more effective and perhaps one day remove the threat of blood cancer in all its forms. If you can, please do support us with a gift today.

Dr Alasdair Rankin
Bloodwise Research Director

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