Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Leukaemia treatment research receives £3.1m funding

Scientists at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences will carry out laboratory experiments in tandem with a clinical trial (PA)
Scientists at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences will carry out laboratory experiments in tandem with a clinical trial (PA)

Researchers have been awarded £3.1 million for a pioneering study to help find new treatments for a rare form of blood cancer.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences will carry out laboratory experiments in tandem with a clinical trial to monitor how cancer cells in patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) respond to a series of new experimental drugs.

Taking a “precision medicine” approach, they hope data from their experiments will help determine which drug will be most effective for individual patients.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Normally, blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, from a kind of “starter cell” called a stem cell, however CML occurs when blood stem cells produce abnormal white blood cells that grow out of control.

Laura Boyd
Laura Boyd was diagnosed with CML eight years ago (Cancer Research UK/PA)

It can be treated with drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which tackle the cancerous white blood cells but these drugs do not kill the CML stem cells and in some patients the cancer can eventually become resistant to treatment.

The university said the study is the first in the UK to receive funding from the Cancer Research UK Experimental Medicine Award programme, which supports highly ambitious laboratory research conducted in association with a clinical trial.

Professor Mhairi Copland, director of the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre and clinical lead for the study, said: “Around a quarter of CML patients develop resistance to the standard treatment.

“For some patients we can try a different drug or sometimes a bone marrow transplant, however, CML tends to be a disease of older people for whom a bone marrow transplant isn’t an option.

“Our hope is that this study will help more patients with difficult-to-treat CML to survive, and give them more time with their families with better quality of life.”

Around 50 people are diagnosed with CML in Scotland each year and around 20 people in Scotland die from the disease annually.

The study will continue the work of cancer specialist and founding director of Glasgow’s Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, Professor Tessa Holyoake, who died from breast cancer in August 2017.

Professor Mhairi Copland
Professor Mhairi Copland is director of the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre (Cancer Research UK/PA)

STV entertainment reporter Laura Boyd, who was diagnosed with CML eight years ago, welcomed news of the study.

She said when she was diagnosed in September 2009, her first thought was “am I going to die?”, but her cancer has been kept under control with drugs.

Ms Boyd, from Glasgow, said: “This is the most wonderful news. I was diagnosed with CML in 2009 and thanks to the pioneering work carried out by the likes of Professor Mhairi Copland and Professor Tessa Holyoake, I have largely kept well and led a normal life.

“The future, however, is uncertain and that’s why it comes as such a relief to know that this funding will enable scientists to carry forward the groundbreaking work they have already done to try and find new treatments and drugs.

“It gives hope and it means the world to me to know that the legacy Professor Holyoake left when she sadly passed away last year, will be carried on.

“She was my doctor and the most remarkable woman I have ever met.”