RYE BROOK, N.Y., February 5, 2024 — The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Blood Cancer UK announced today a five-year, $4.25 million grant to launch a research project at Cambridge University in England to identify people at high risk of certain blood cancers and develop interventions to prevent them from progressing to these diseases.
“LLS recognizes the need for international collaboration in the fight against blood cancer,” said Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “This funding collaboration between LLS and Blood Cancer UK marks a significant stride toward advancing research, treatment, and prevention strategies for myeloid blood cancers on an international scale.”
This project will focus on myeloid blood cancers, which affect both the bone marrow and blood. Myeloid cancers include acute myeloid leukemias (AML), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and rarer cancers like chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). These leukemias are some of the most deadly forms of blood cancer that results in more than 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
The new project will be led by George Vassiliou, M.D., Ph.D., professor of hematologic medicine at the University of Cambridge and a senior faculty member at the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI).
While many myeloid blood cancers cannot by cured, previous work from Dr. Vassiliou and colleagues revealed that many people at high risk of developing these blood cancers can be identified years in advance. In this new project, researchers will build a screening system to identify people at high risk of myeloid blood cancers and develop strategies to prevent these diseases from developing in the first place.
“One of the crucial parts of this project is the establishment of a specialized clinical network for patients at high risk of developing myeloid blood cancers, where they will undergo an in-person visit, followed by virtual follow-up visits,” said Dr. Vassiliou. “The virtual element will be important for scaling up blood cancer prevention and will hopefully serve as a model for similar programs in the US and across the world.”
"Blood cancer is the UK’s third biggest cancer killer, so this program to transform our understanding of myeloid blood cancers and help us develop effective prevention strategies is much needed,” said Blood Cancer UK’s Director of Research Rubina Ahmed, Ph.D. “Prevention of solid cancers that form tumors is an advanced area of research and clinical practice, but we’re simply not at that stage with blood cancers yet. So, we’re pleased to work together with another international funder and scientists in world-leading research institutes, to beat blood cancer in a generation.”
This research project would not be possible without the support of donors, including The Donald & Martha DeWees Foundation and The Moore Family Charitable Foundation.
To speak with an LLS representative, contact Ryan McDonald, Senior Manager of Medical & Science Communications at Ryan.McDonald@lls.org
To arrange interviews with a Blood Cancer UK representative contact Ed Pinches, Media Relations Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the global leader in the fight against blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has regions throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
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About Blood Cancer UK
Blood Cancer UK have invested £500 million in research in blood cancer since 1960. Currently the charity are funding £23m of research across 65 research projects institutions in the UK. To keep up-to-date with all the latest blood cancer news, go to https://bloodcancer.org.uk/news/ and find us on social media.
For free and confidential support, and information on blood cancer and life after a diagnosis, call us on 0808 2080 888 or email us at email@example.com
Join our online forum and talk to others affected by blood cancer at forum.bloodcancer.org.uk
About the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
The Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI) is a world-leading center for stem cell research with a mission to transform human health through a deep understanding of normal and pathological stem cell behavior. Bringing together biological, clinical and physical scientists operating across a range of tissue types and at multiple scales, we explore the commonalities and differences in stem cell biology in a cohesive and inter-disciplinary manner. Located in a purpose-built facility on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and housing over 350 researchers, including a critical mass of clinician scientists, the Institute integrates with neighboring disease-focused research institutes and also serves as a hub for the wider stem cell community in Cambridge. www.stemcells.cam.ac.uk