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We believe we can beat blood cancer within a generation. Here’s how we’ll do it.

23rd Jun 2021 - Fatima Sulaiman

Fatima Sulaiman, Head of Research, talks about the future of blood cancer research for us as an organisation, and what we’re doing to prioritise research.

Research image for Vaccine page

Coronavirus has had a profound impact on the blood cancer community – in particular people affected by blood cancer but also our researchers.

As an organisation, we’ve been impacted too and have worked really hard to support our community however we can. But despite this, what’s not changed is our absolute commitment to funding world-class research to bring us closer to the day where we can beat all blood cancers. Thanks to you, our community, continuing to fundraise over the last 15 months we’ve just funded 9 new research projects. That’s over £2 million of new research funded because of you.

Over £2million of new research – but we’re not stopping there

We’re constantly thinking about ‘what’s next’ and how we can help drive research towards beating blood cancer sooner. Despite the huge developments in our understanding of blood cancers, we know that we need to do more if we’re going to beat blood cancer within a generation. We need to discover more about how blood cancers develop, evolve and are best treated. We need treatments with fewer side effects and better outcomes for people affected by blood cancer.

We want a world where we can predict how a disease will progress, so that we can stop blood cancer in its tracks. Because the more we understand it, the more lives we can save.

Childhood blood cancer research was just the start

Blood Cancer UK was founded in 1960 by the Eastwood family, who had lost their daughter Susan to childhood leukaemia. Back then, our research focused on finding ways to treat childhood leukaemia. But since then we’ve diversified, and we now fund research into all types of blood cancer.

From leukaemia to myeloma to myeloproliferative neoplasms, we believe that by investing across blood cancers and focusing on work that will affect more than one individual blood cancer, this will lead to the greatest impact. Over the last 60 years we’ve improved survival rates and found new ways to treat blood cancer, but there’s still more to be done.

Our mission remains to beat blood cancer, and we're changing how we invest in research to make sure that the research we fund will help us reach that day as soon as possible. To do this, we've spent the last year developing a research strategy, bringing together people affected by blood cancer and our research community to carve out how we will fund research going forward. Our research strategy is the foundation stone for our research investment over the next five years and into the future.

Our plan for research

We will fund across a diverse portfolio of research and diseases, allowing us to balance risk and reward, respond to new opportunities and partner with others on common goals.

This portfolio will include competitive project grant funding which will focus on key priorities we’ve identified with our research community and people affected by blood cancer.

We'll also introduce a cross-cutting scheme, that will allow us to support initiatives that have the potential to impact blood cancer as a whole, rather than an individual disease.

Investing in partnership with other funders will also be a priority for us, to increase investment into blood cancer research. We'll identify specific opportunities for co-funding, much like we’ve done with the Blood Cancer UK Vaccine Research Collaborative. By doing matched funding we'll encourage general biomedical research funders to decide to invest in blood cancer.

We’ve had a strong track record in funding for early career researchers, and we will introduce a new fellowship scheme, to support career development and the future of blood cancer researchers. The fellowship scheme will support individual researchers, in particular to take the next step in their career, for example transitioning to independence.

A strategy that can react quickly

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on medical research charities, including us.

Despite the financial impact of Covid-19, we expect to fund a minimum of £25 million in research over the next five years. This is in addition to funds we have already committed to the projects we are currently funding. We’ve created a plan for funding research that’s agile and flexible, so we can respond to the ever-changing research landscape. But the amount we invest in research isn’t written in stone and the more money we raise, the more research we can fund and the more lives we can save.

We remain absolutely committed to investing in blood cancer research and we hope you’ll come on this journey with us.

researcher at work

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