Reporter 462, 26 February 2001

Massive grant boosts leukaemia research

The UKs leading blood cancer charity, the Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF) is investing a massive 5.6 million in the LRF Centre for Clinical Epidemiology at the University.

The award is the largest single grant ever awarded by the LRF and the largest ever received by the School of Medicine. And it ensures that the Centre can push forward with its pioneering research into the causes of leukaemia, lymphoma and related cancers.

LRF Scientific Director, Dr David Grant said: "This enormous commitment to the research at Leeds is a sign of the importance we place on identifying the causes of leukaemia and the Centre here is the international leader in this field."

Funding boost Vice Chancellor Professor Alan Wilson with leukaemia sufferers, from left, Jean Cheetham, Yvonne Shaw and Debbie Ainsworth, who is pictured with her son Thomas

Vice Chancellor Professor Alan Wilson said: "This grant is a tribute to the LRF Centre and in particular the dedication of its head, Professor Ray Cartwright, who has committed himself to this University and ensured 20 years of funding from the LRF to build up the Centre. I am pleased and honoured that the LRF is supporting innovative research at Leeds."

The Centre collects information from patients and their families. By analysing their lifestyle patterns, environmental exposure and genetic make-up, the team is seeking to understand the processes that can lead to leukaemia and related cancers.

Research at the Centre has already found that certain exposures can increase the likelihood of a person developing leukaemia. For example, there is an association between smoking and acute leukaemia in adults.

It also seems that people with certain genes are at greater risk of developing leukaemia if they are exposed to chemical such as benzene. The Centre is now trying to find out if there are other genetic factors that make some people more susceptible to leukaemia.

Around 20,00 people in Britain are diagnosed with leukaemia or one of the related diseases each year.

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