We are delighted to announce a £1.5 million investment to fund vital scientific research into leukaemia and lymphoma

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

We are delighted to announce a £1.5 million investment to support research into leukaemia, lymphoma and other related disorders. We will make this investment over a three year period.

As part of the £1.5 million package, we have launched a £500,000 Golden Anniversary research programme, one of the major scientific and awareness initiatives that we have planned for our 50th anniversary year.   The investment and research programme will enable researchers and clinicians in Queen’s University Belfast and across Northern Ireland to expand their internationally recognised research.  

New cases of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma account for over 9% of all types of cancer.   This makes this group of blood cancers the 5th most common type of cancer, with more males (55% of cases) affected than females.    Around 94% of all leukaemia and 99% of all lymphoma cases occur in adults.

Figures from Northern Ireland, which are very similar to those across the United Kingdom, show that around 7 out of 10 acute myeloid leukaemia patients under 60 years will be alive after 24 months.  This decreases to only 2 out 10 if the patients are aged over 60 years old. The reported incidence of one type of lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has increased nearly three-fold in the past 20 years.

The Golden Anniversary research programme will enable research into aspects of leukaemia, lymphoma and other related blood cancers to improve our understanding of these diseases leading to better therapies and patient outcomes.   One of the projects will be the ‘Victoria Montgomery/Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI studentship’ which will focus on research into acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and is named after a young mother from Portadown who lost her life to an aggressive form of leukaemia in November 2012.  

Mr Bill Pollock, Chair of Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI, said that “Over the past 50 years, the charity has supported leukaemia research and I very pleased that we are in a position to make this major investment to support the valuable and innovative research into blood cancers being undertaken in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Ken Mills, Chair of Experimental Haematology in Queen’s University Belfast, said ‘Our scientists are highly respected experts in their field and their research aims to understand how leukaemia and other related diseases develop. From this we can discover better ways of treating all of these diseases and ultimately improve the outcome and quality of life for patients.   This exciting announcement by the Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI of a £1.5M commitment to research will greatly enhance the ability of our researchers in Northern Ireland to undertake globally significant research.’

Professor David Waugh, Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s, said ‘The funding of this research programme by Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI demonstrates their continued confidence in the high quality research being undertaken in Belfast to identify novel therapies and improve patient outcomes. It is crucial funding such as this that allows researchers at Queen’s, along with our partners, to change and improve lives.’