Dunnalong mother backs new funding package for leukaemia research

A FOUNDER member of the local fundraising committee for the Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund, Mrs Edyth Lovell, has welcomed the announcement of a £350,000 funding package for leukaemia research to Queen's University Belfast.

The money is to go to the Haematology Group based in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) in the university, and Mrs Lovell, a member of Dunnalong Parish Church, whose son lost his battle with leukaemia, said the funding would be invaluable in the drive to understand the illness and relieve suffering.

“As a member of the local fund raising committee I welcome this new development from Leukemia Research Northern Ireland,” she said, adding: “Over the years we have raised a considerable sum for the Fund, but as with any illness unless research is properly funded the process of understanding an illness and alleviating suffering is reduced. This funding will mean a lot to thoes committed to helping those living with leukaemia in the Province.”

The leukaemia research group consists of five principal investigators, two clinical scientists and 22 younger scientists and post-graduate students training to be the research leaders of the future.

The awards package means that the NILRF has committed their support over the next five years. The Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund (NILRF) was founded in 1963, has raised over 7 million and is proud that the money raised in Northern Ireland, stays in Northern Ireland to fund leukaemia research.

Professor Ken Mills, Chair of Experimental Haematology in the CCRCB said “this innovative package of support is an exciting contribution to the research programme and demonstrates the commitment of the NILRF to ensure that Northern Ireland is at fore-front of global leukaemia research”

There are three aspects to the new initiative. Firstly, is a support package for leukaemia research awarded to Professor Ken Mills who will use this fund to ensure that essential reagents and equipment are available and allow further training opportunities for the scientists.

Secondly, the NILRF have funded a four-year PhD studentship for leukaemia research, which following internal submission was awarded to Dr Melanie Percy for the study of ASB proteins in acute myeloid leukaemia.

Finally, for the second year, the NILRF have decided to support four summer research studentships for an eight week placement undertaking leukaemia research in the CCRCB located on the Belfast City Hospital campus. The recipients of these are undergraduate students who are at the start of their research career.

Mr Bill Pollock, chairman of the Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund, said “we are proud and privileged to support a dedicated team of investigators and scientists who are at the cutting edge of research into the causes and cure of leukaemia in Northern Ireland. The enthusiastic fundraising in our branches across the Province, together with the generous support of relatives and friends of patients affected by leukaemia, is much needed and appreciated.”