The University of Birmingham and Cure Leukaemia are combining to launch the “Birmingham. Let’s cure leukaemia” campaign which aims to help the city find a cure for blood cancer in the next 30 years.
This collaboration will raise funds to support University of Birmingham researcher and co-founder of Cure Leukaemia, Professor Charlie Craddock and his teams based in the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and across the West Midlands, to continue their work to deliver ground-breaking new therapies to leukaemia patients across the region.
The aim by 2024 is to double the number of patients treated, double the capacity for clinical trials on offer, whilst looking to potentially leverage in excess of £100 million of free drugs for patients battling blood cancer. This will consolidate the Centre’s position as a world-leading centre for the treatment of blood cancer.
To help towards this aim, the University of Birmingham is joining Cure Leukaemia in their quest to recruit 1000 runners to help fundraise £250,000 for the BUPA Great Birmingham Run on Sunday October 19th. This would double the participation and fundraising total of £125,000 from 450 runners in the 2013 event.
The focus will see two leading forces in research and treatment of leukaemia joining together to encourage the local community, University staff, students and alumni (graduates of the University) to run for Cure Leukaemia and the University of Birmingham and raise funds in aid of leukaemia research for the BUPA Great Birmingham Run.
The combined fundraising initiative will directly help patients in the region like 18-year-old Brooke Evans from Redditch who has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Brooke is receiving support and treatment for her disease as part of a clinical trial which is delivered through the clinical trials unit at the Centre for Clinical Haematology and the University of Birmingham.
She said, “there are more people in the same position as me and we need to make sure they have access to these treatments.”
In October 2013 41-year-old Karl Murphy took part in the BUPA Great Birmingham Run just four weeks after undergoing a bone marrow transplant. His treatment was also made available thanks to Cure Leukaemia and now Karl is in good health and living an active life. He said, “without Cure Leukaemia, the nurses and Professor Charlie Craddock I would not be here now.”
With further fundraising, more patients like Karl and Brooke can be treated and with sustained funding, Birmingham can find a cure for leukaemia in the next 30 years.
Dr. Ram Malladi, Cure Leukaemia Trustee and Senior Clinical Lecturer said,
“Patients are potentially missing out on life-saving treatment as we simply do not have enough specialist nurses to deliver enough clinical trials.
It is deeply frustrating that patients are being turned away and miss out on these important and potentially curative drugs.”
The West Midlands region, with a population of 5.5 million has the most ethnically diverse catchment area in Europe and, as a result, offers access to the broadest possible data pool for drug trials. Combined with a hub of leading medical research at the University of Birmingham, this makes Birmingham a centre of excellence in this field, offering hope to the 30,000 people who are diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK each year.
Professor Charlie Craddock, the co-founder of Cure Leukaemia and Professor of Haemato-oncology at the University of Birmingham said,
“I am thrilled that the University of Birmingham and Cure Leukaemia are combining their efforts for this year’s BUPA Great Birmingham Run.
The University’s facilities, research and infrastructure are integral to all the work we do at the Centre for Clinical Haematology so their collaboration with Cure Leukaemia to help increase fundraising too is fantastic. It will allow us to continue to treat and save the lives of leukaemia patients all over the region, and help Birmingham find a cure for this terrible disease in the next 30 years.”
The Centre for Clinical Haematology is ideally sited near to the locations where joint patient care and collaborative research work is undertaken – close to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital where the haematology and cancer wards are located and the University of Birmingham which hosts one of the largest Cancer Trials Units in the world.
Head of the School of Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham Professor Paul Moss said,
“We are delighted to work with Cure Leukaemia to support Professor Charlie Craddock’s research at the University of Birmingham. The University’s outstanding laboratory facilities and close links with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital ensure that Charlie’s research can be directly translated into patient treatments through the incredibly valuable Centre for Clinical Hematology.
“Our understanding of cancer biology and how this leads to the development of new treatments is improving at an impressive rate and it’s vital we maintain this momentum. We constantly see our research being translated into clinical treatments for patients. With more than 800 researchers, the University represents a major international centre for biomedical research and every trial we run brings us one step closer to delivering better treatments for cancer sufferers.
“It is the most exciting time to be in cancer research right now – there has never been a time like this. We are the first generation that has the ability and the capacity to control this disease.”