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Bid to improve blood cancer survival rates

17th May 2011

A UK link up of 13 research centres is to be launched in an attempt to improve survival rates for blood cancer patients.

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Every year blood cancers cause the deaths of more than 12,000 people in the UK - more than breast and prostate cancer.

However, research for these supposedly 'rare' cancers is not widespread.

The charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research said it hoped to escalate the delivery of new drug treatments for blood cancers by connecting 13 research centres.

The charity said there were so many different varieties of blood cancer that it had been considered a waste of money to consider developing drugs for many types of the disease.

The charity's clinical trials adviser, Professor Charlie Craddock, of the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, said: "Every doctor will tell you that they are routinely turning down promising new drugs because they don't have the resources to conduct early stage clinical trials."

"We have a moral case for getting new drugs out there as soon as possible - if you have a relative with a blood cancer, you don't want life-saving treatment available in 10 years. You want it now."

The charity, which is receiving funding from pharmaceutical organisations and the NHS, said the link-up will see the completion of trials by 2013 and bring £50 million of new drug treatments to patients.

Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, said: "It is great news for patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and we hope to see these trials making a real impact in the coming years."

 

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