The Trust Supports
Dedicated to supporting patients and families living with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood diseases, the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust continues to support the St James’s Hospital stem cell unit. Originally the Trust helped to fund the building of a specialised transplant unit in Ireland but now is focused on supporting patients; to this end it supports the hospital and the medical team in providing the best possible care. This support breaks down into four main areas: the people themselves; the Burkitt unit and day care centre; accommodation outside the hospital for those who cannot commute; and research and development into better methods of managing and curing the various disorders.
Currently the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust owns four apartments close to the hospital, which have proved invaluable for patients and their families specifically post allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The apartments available are allocated to patients who are coming from outside Dublin and do not have any family or relatives in Dublin with whom they can stay.
Due to large numbers undergoing transplant, it is not possible that all patients who require an apartment will be allocated one. Because of this it is necessary that some families will have to organise their own accomodation. Availability of an apartment will be discussed as your discharge approaches.
There is always a shortage of apartments for patients and so the Trust is continually fundraising to buy additional apartments. The Trust estimates that a total number of ten apartments are needed to service the needs of patients and we will keep striving towards this goal.
The apartments are allocated by the transplant team in the hospital and not by the Trust itself, this ensures the fairest distribution of these assets.
The new unit carries out approximately 100 - 130 stem cell transplants a year. The Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust continues to raise money in support of the unit and the unit remains the only one in the country offering allogeneic stem cell transplantation for adult patients.
This unit is in the process of being refurbished – with ten years under its belt and nearly full occupancy, it need repainting, new floors and updated showering facilities. Funds have been allocated for this so that this can happen one room at a time.
Research & Resources
Since 1999 The Trust has contributed substantially to research carried out by the bone marrow transplant team under the direction of Professor Shaun McCann. The ability to carry out state of the art research was enhanced by the opening of the Durkan Research for Leukaemia Laboratories in a new building on the campus of St. James’s Hospital.
This building was made possible by the kind donations of the Durkan Foundation and the Bone Marrow for leukaemia Trust. The team has developed tests to accurately diagnose different types of leukaemia and thereby enhance our ability to undertake the most appropriate treatment for individual patients. The Unit has also developed DNA based technology to access the results of transplantation. This technology is now widely used by other hospitals around the world. This unit is also involved in research into Multiple Myeloma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, and the first trial of the now widely used anti leukaemia drug Glivec was carried out under the direction Prof. McCann 2000.
In 2010 The Trust has funded two fellowships for young Haematologists in training, Dr. Amjad Hayat and Dr. Clodagh Ryan. Both of these young doctors have continued their research into Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia respectively
Other Support Provided By The Trust
The treatment of leukaemia with chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation is highly complex, with many team members including doctors, specialist nurses, pharmacists, medical scientists, social workers, clinical nutritionists, and relies on the input of National Blood Service and many other different specialists in the hospital.
The Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust has supported specialist nurses, nurse education, salaries for haematologists in training and for research scientists and physicians. The Trust has also supplied financial support for staff members to attend at important international meetings. The Department of Haematology has recently been strengthened by the appointment of Dr. Eibhlin Conneally, who started her training originally in St. James’s Hospital and has returned from Vancouver in Canada, and Dr. Elisabeth Vandenberghe who has returned as a Consultant Haematologist from the UK and Dr Catherine Flynn who carried out her transplant training in St James’s Hospital. Dr Patrick Hayden joined the department in 2010. He was supported by the BMLT during his research fellowship at St James’s Hospital. The specialist registrar training program run by the department is the only one in Ireland which is fully recognised for higher specialist training in the field of Haematology.
Dr. Paul Browne is developing a special interest in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma with Autologous Stem Cell transplants. To date over 100 patients have been treated and he is carrying out research to try and improve the long term results with the use of new drugs in association with Autologus Stem Cell Transplantation.
Dr. Eibhlin Conneally continues research into the treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia both with Stem Cell Transplantation and new combinations of drugs. The unit continues to have an interest in the treatment of severe Aplastic Anaemia with stem cell transplantation with a 90% cure rate in the last 10 years. The unit works closely in association with the department of haematology in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin who carry out stem cell transplants in children. A joint research project funded by the Trust and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children into the treatment of childhood leukaemia has been completed. New molecular technology developed at St James’s Hospital has allowed the close monitoring of children and an early decision can be made as to when therapy such as stem cell transplantation might be appropriate.
The Trust continues to support research in the New John Durkan Research Leukaemia Memorial Laboratories as well as supporting patients and their families.
The Trust has only been successful because of the dedication of its staff and trustees and because of the tremendous ongoing financial support given by Irish people since the early 1980s.