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From despair to hope: The Matthew Wilson Multiple Myeloma Fund

26th Jan 2024 - Dr Sammy Eden

Matthew Wilson's experience with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, shows how with determination you can create hope when faced with adversity, as he establishes the Matthew Wilson Multiple Myeloma Fund (MWMMF) at Blood Cancer UK.

“Hope is something that is in short supply when you‘re diagnosed with an incurable cancer.”

- Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson, a member of the Board, smiling against a plan white background.

Matthew Wilson

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Matthew’s experience with multiple myeloma

Matthew’s story began at the beginning of 2020, just after the Covid-19 lockdown. He thought something was wrong as he felt permanently exhausted but just put it down to stress.

Matthew spent two years in a cycle of diagnosis and treatment, but nothing seemed to get to the root cause of the problem.

Desperate for answers, he sought the expertise of another doctor where he received the life-changing diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that that often presents challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Although this type of blood cancer can be treated, it currently has no cure.

Matthew Wilson undergoing treatment

Matthew Wilson undergoing treatment

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The birth of the MWMMF

Matthew's personal struggle has fuelled his determination to bring hope to the 16,000 people in the UK living with multiple myeloma and the 5,000 individuals newly diagnosed each year. Alongside Blood Cancer UK he established the MWMMF. In its first year, this has funded four incredible research projects exceeding £1.2 million.

Matthew Wilson stands smiling with his family on a sunny evening in Summer.

Matthew Wilson and his family

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Funding hope: The MWMMF research projects

The MWMMF is supporting four ground-breaking research projects, each aimed at unravelling more of the many mysteries of multiple myeloma, helping to find new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment.

Project 1: Unlocking the causes of myeloma

Professor Chris Bunce's research, led by PhD student Aidan Haslam endeavours to deepen our understanding of the causes of myeloma, paving the way for the development of innovative screening tools and drugs. This project represents a crucial step towards early detection and targeted interventions for myeloma patients.

Professor Chris Bunce and his team smiling in the lab.

Professor Chris Bunce and his lab team stood in the smiling

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Project 2: Decoding myeloma cell growth

Professor Karadimitris and his team, Dr Nick Crump and PhD student Katrina Fordwor are delving into the intricate world of myeloma cell growth, seeking to identify key molecules that facilitate myeloma cells to multiply and grow in numbers. This knowledge is essential for developing interventions that can limit the growth and survival of myeloma cells.

Professor Karadimitris and his lab team

Professor Karadimitris and his lab teamDr Nick Crump and PhD student Katrina Fordwor

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Project 3: Enhancing CAR-T cell longevity

Dr Maciocia's research is focused on discovering small proteins that enhance the life of CAR-T cells, offering a promising avenue for people with myeloma to remain cancer-free. This project holds the potential to revolutionize treatment approaches and improve long-term outcomes for people with myeloma.

Dr Paul Maciocia stood in the lab smiling

Dr Paul Maciocia

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Project 4: Innovative diagnosis techniques

Dr Chan is researching a novel technique to detect myeloma in cases where myeloma does not show up with standard blood tests. Their non-invasive approach aims to provide an effective means of diagnosing and monitoring the disease, particularly in instances where it is challenging to detect using current methods.

Dr Tracey Chan and research team member Dr Jen Heaney stood in the lab smiling.

Dr Tracey Chan and research team member Dr Jen Heaney.

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The MWMMF stands as a testament to the power of hope and determination.

Through its commitment to funding cutting-edge research, it is propelling us closer to a future where there is a cure for multiple myeloma.

Together, we are making strides towards beating blood cancer, one research project at a time.

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