The Syncona Foundation has committed to three further years of support for Cure Leukaemia. The Foundation (formerly known as the BACIT Foundation), which is focused on on the prevention, treatment, cure and ultimately eradication of cancer and other diseases, began its support for Cure Leukaemia in 2016 and has, to date, donated over £500,000 to enable the charity to continue connecting blood cancer patients with pioneering new clinical trials for all blood cancers. This three-year extension will secure support from the Syncona Foundation until 2023, 8 years in total.
The Syncona Foundation’s support enabled Cure Leukaemia to raise an additional £1,000,000 in 2017 to double the capacity of the internationally renowned Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Birmingham. This expansion not only enabled clinical trial research teams for the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) to be housed in the building but also allowed a new day unit to be installed enabling previous inpatient treatments for blood cancer patients to be performed in an outpatient setting, saving the NHS approximately £1,000,000 per year.
The CCH also played a key role during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, alleviating capacity issues elsewhere in the QEH by delivering chemotherapy to over 1,000 non-blood cancer patients. Annually, the CCH can now deliver 20,000 patient treatments, doubling what was possible prior to the expansion.
In January 2020, as a result of the continued support of the Syncona Foundation, Cure Leukaemia began a 3-year, £3,000,000 commitment to funding the TAP which consists of its facilitatory Hub at the CCH and specialist research nurse positions at 12 blood cancer centres across the UK. These nurses and the network’s co-ordinating Hub in Birmingham allow pioneering clinical trials to run in 12 of the UK’s biggest cities connecting blood cancer patients from a catchment area of 20 million with these potentially life-saving treatments.
Patients like Mark Hill, 62, from Bermondsey in London. Mark was the first patient placed on a clinical trial called MAJIC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, a trial that would not have been possible without TAP. He said:
“I got my life back. I wouldn’t have got this treatment without charities like them. Everything that happened to me wouldn’t have been possible – and certainly not at the speed it happened. The consistency of support from charities like Cure Leukaemia has just been the lynchpin, the driver, the rock that solid progress has been made on.”
Chair of the Syncona Foundation, Tom Henderson, was introduced to Cure Leukaemia back in 2015 by the charity’s now Patron James Maltin. James cycled the full Tour de France, a day ahead of the professionals alongside former footballer, blood cancer survivor and fellow Patron Geoff Thomas in 2015 and his introduction led to £521,137 being invested into the charity to date. He said:
“I am so pleased to have played a part in the Syncona Foundation’s support of Cure Leukaemia.
Having met many patients over the years that benefit from the charity’s work I know the phenomenal life-saving opportunities that are possible thanks to Cure Leukaemia.
To see how the charity has grown since 2016 is testament to the brilliant support of the Foundation and I am delighted that this is continuing for a further three years.”
Tom Henderson, who attended an event at Lord’s Cricket Ground in November 2019 which announced Cure Leukaemia’s funding of TAP thanks to the Syncona Foundation and a two-year £2m national partnership with Deutsche Bank said:
“During that evening (at Lord’s) there was a remarkable moment when all the survivors in the audience who owe their lives to funds raised for Cure Leukaemia stood up which was incredibly moving.
The Syncona Foundation’s objectives focus on the prevention, treatment, cure and ultimately eradication of cancer and other diseases and Cure Leukaemia perfectly embodies these aims.
It is fantastic to see how the Foundation’s support has impacted so positively on the charity since 2016 and we look forward to further progress over the next three years.”
Cure Leukaemia Co-Founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, who was recently featured in Syncona’s Annual Report detailing their impact on Cure Leukaemia said:
“The Syncona Foundation was able to help us redesign and adapt what the clinical trial environment should be like in 2020, rather than just using a model that was tried and tested in the 1990s. Their funding investment has been of transformative importance – what we see is that for every pound you invest in Cure Leukaemia and the infrastructure it funds you get £10 of ‘free drugs’ for patients.
“We’re really grateful to the Syncona Foundation, who have been visionary partners and have made a big difference in so many ways.”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said:
“We are delighted with this three-year extension of our partnership with the Syncona Foundation which is now the longest of its kind for Cure Leukaemia. The Foundation’s continued support is essential in allowing the charity to plan for the future and continue giving blood cancer patients across the UK access to potentially life-saving treatments through clinical trials.”
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives