HOW ARE WE LEADING THE WAY IN LEUKAEMIA RESEARCH?
By investigating how to prevent it returning.
Is it possible to stop leukaemia from returning? At King’s College London, our expert team of cancer researchers is coming close to a treatment that will spare some leukaemia patients the anguish of enduring this disease a second time.
Leukaemia is a broad term covering a range of blood and bone marrow cancers. One form of leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia, is becoming increasingly common, as people are living longer.
While this form of leukaemia is treatable, over half of all people who are 60 and older will relapse, despite having a bone marrow transplant.
Professor Ghulam Mufti of King’s Division of Cancer Studies is leading a team that’s developing a vaccine to prevent the return of acute myeloid leukaemia. The vaccine – now in trial stage – is an outstanding example of personalised medicine. It treats a disease using a patient’s cells, rather than prescribing pills.
‘We’re developing a vaccine which is made of leukaemia cells that have been collected from the patient. The cells have been specially engineered so that they are recognised as foreign by the body’s immune system,’ says Professor Mufti. Initial results from the trials show that patients are not experiencing any side effects.
Professor Mufti continues: ‘We think this vaccine will eventually be relevant to all types of myeloid leukaemias. Without philanthropic support, this just wouldn’t have happened. If you look at any of our research areas, be it the research into leukaemic stem cells, the production of cell therapies and leukaemia cell therapies or genetics of leukaemia, in all of these areas there would not have been any advances had it not been for the support of charities and donors.’
He concludes: ‘All of our researchers, as well as our patients, are extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed funds.’
Please help Professor Mufti and other experts in King’s treat or prevent diseases such as leukaemia. Give patients a second chance by donating today