Each year around 30,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with a form of blood cancer; 12,000 people die annually from the disease. Our groundbreaking research is bringing hope by gaining a better understanding of the illnesses and paving the way for potential new treatments.
The quality of our research has been recognised by the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. We are one of the charity’s ‘Centres of Excellence’ and it is investing over £7m into studies at Southampton. The funds support a number of projects which are making significant breakthroughs in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the focus of two research projects. One aims to understand how the cancer cells proliferate, in order to enable the development of new drugs in the future. A second project is identifying genes that can predict how well patients with CLL will respond to treatment, to help doctors identify suitable treatment pathways for patients and enable the design of more targeted treatments.
A further study has discovered clues to why many patients do not respond to a standard drug for the blood cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which could lay the ground for the development of new treatments.
Our scientists are also carrying out an innovative clinical trial for the treatment of myeloma. The trial delivers a new form of radiotherapy that targets cancer cells in the bone marrow without damaging healthy cells. This will allow doctors to deliver much higher treatment doses safely and more effectively.
Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says: "The University of Southampton has proved itself to be truly world class in its research into blood cancers. Scientists here are consistently helping to improve treatment and diagnosis for patients in Southampton and across the UK.”