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:
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 John 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 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.
In 2016, the Trust, in a landmark collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, funded the appointment of Dr. Tony McElligott as the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust Assistant Professor in Molecular Haematology. Dr. McElligott has a key role in implementing and progressing the research programme of the John Durkan Leukaemia Laboratories, specifically in the field of haematological neoplasms and stem cell transplantation.
Prof. 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.
Dr. Larry Bacon, specialist interests include lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and clinical trials.
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 John Durkan, Leukaemia Memorial Laboratories as well as supporting patients and their families.
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 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.