[Press and Public Relations] £100,000 Cash Boost to Cancer Research in Leicester

February 2002

No 35

Why do some cancer patients go on to develop leukaemia after receiving certain types of treatment? This is the question that researchers at the University of Leicester are looking to answer after receiving a grant of £100,000 from the UK’s leading blood cancer charity, Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF).

The research team – led by Dr Mark Plumb from the Department of Genetics – is searching for the genetic changes that cause patients to develop what is known as secondary leukaemia, and to identify why some people are more prone to this than others.

He believes that the susceptibility is genetically determined. “We think that some genes – called tumour suppressor genes – which should protect patients from developing leukaemia, are switched off or are missing in patients with secondary leukaemia,” he says.

The task for Dr Plumb and his team is to determine precisely which genes play a critical role in the development of this disease.

Scientific Director of the Leukaemia Research Fund, Dr David Grant, welcomes the new research: “Secondary leukaemia is a very difficult form of blood cancer for doctors to treat. It is crucial that we find out why people develop this disease so we can find a way of preventing it.”

The university’s Department of Genetics was recently awarded the very top rating of 5* in the Research Assesment Exercise, the only genetics department in the country to receive this rating.

Leukaemia Research Fund is the only national UK charity devoted exclusively to improving treatments, finding cures and learning how to prevent leukaemia, Hodgkin’s disease and other lymphomas, myeloma and the related blood disorders, diagnosed in 21,500 people in Britain every year.  Further information, including patient booklets, is available from:

·         Your nearest LRF voluntary fundraising branch (see Yellow Pages)

·         LRF, 43 Great Ormond Street, London, WC1N 3JJ tel: 020 7269 9068; email: info@lrf.org.uk;              www.lrf.org.uk.

For further information, please contact Andrew Miller on 020 7269 9019 or 07968 373406.

Notes to editors: There is normally a substantial time lag between patients being treated for cancer and developing secondary leukaemia. Amongst those at risk from developing secondary leukaemia are certain patients with Hodgkin’s disease and lung, breast and ovarian cancer. While certain patients may be at risk, without treatment they would not survive their disease.  

Dr Mark Plumb

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 21 February 2002 15:00
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