Mid Wales

Cardiff blood cancer patients' trial drugs 'benefit'

Image caption The hospital will 'pool' its blood cancer patients with 12 other hospitals for clinical drug trials

Blood cancer patients in Cardiff are set to benefit from clinical trials being "pooled" with a dozen other UK hospitals, says a research charity.

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research says the move will give patients with a rare disease better access to trial drugs.

University Hospital of Wales (UHW) has been named as a specialist centre in a network of 13 hospitals across the UK.

A research nurse will be appointed to help begin the first trials by the end of the year.

The charity said the arrangement was in response to poor survival rates for many types of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

It has released figures claiming more than 12,000 people die of blood cancers each year, and it being the most common cause of cancer deaths in the under-35s.

A spokesman for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research said the 13 sites would "pool" their patients to strengthen their bids do undertake drug trials.

He said: "There are so many different blood cancers that it has often been seen as uneconomical to develop drugs for many types.

"When new drugs are available, often clinical trials are not set up because of the difficulties of recruiting enough patients at a single hospital to make them workable.

"Because trials will be linked up to other hospitals in the new national network, individual patients with even very rare blood cancers will now be able to be treated with new drugs at the University Hospital of Wales, rather than having to travel to get on a clinical trial suited to them."

The funding means UHW hospital will take on a research nurse to help find suitable patients and complete the paper work for setting up clinical trials.

Consultant haematologist Dr Steve Knapper said: "Being part of this clinical trials network will increase the access of patients in Cardiff to potentially life-saving blood cancer drugs and treatments.

'Lab bench'

"It offers hope to those patients who do not respond to current treatments."

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research chief executive Cathy Gilman said: "Thanks to 50 years of investment in research [by the charity], a lot is known about the basic biology of blood cancers.

"We are now in a position to translate this knowledge from lab bench to bedside."

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