Blood cancer research in the 1970s

12 Nov 2015

Scientists make some encouraging progress – with blood cancer research often leading the way for advances in treating other diseases too.

By the 1970s, it’s been shown that chemotherapy can be used to cure childhood leukaemia and Hodgkin lymphoma – the first instance of drugs, rather than surgery, being used to treat any type of cancer.

Our researchers’ work plays a key role in making these breakthroughs, and clinical trials to try and establish the most effective doses and combinations of chemotherapy drugs continue – with one important development in the mid-1970s being the launch of the national UKALL trials, open to all children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in the UK.

Read more about treating childhood leukaemia in the 1970s >

Read more about how blood cancer research has led the way over the years >

In line with the widening of the charity’s research policy to include the various types of blood cancer, an international workshop on myeloma is held in March 1971 at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in Hammersmith, with doctors and research delegates from the UK and overseas attending.

1971 also sees the first ever Leukaemia Research Fund grantholders’ meeting – an event that still takes place annually, and a chance for the researchers we fund to present and discuss their work, fostering collaboration.

By the mid-1970s the charity is supporting research, both clinical and scientific, at 30 hospitals and university medical centres throughout the country.

The Leukaemia Research Fund is invited in 1978 to become a member of the UK Coordinating Committee for Cancer Research, which comprises the Medical Research Council and the leading cancer research charities.

In 1979 the fund supports the University of Birmingham in setting up an academic Department of Haematology in the Medical School – still one of our most important centres of research today, and the current site of our Midlands Regional Office.

A major grant is also made to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton for the development of work on bone marrow transplantation, a then relatively new technique to treat some forms of blood cancer.