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Sunday, 16 January 2022

Dr awarded prestigious fellowship to progress vital leukaemia research for stem cell transplant

LEUKAEMIA UK has announced Dr Pramila Krishnamurthy of King’s College Hospital and King’s College London as the Leukaemia UK John Goldman Fellow co-funded by Rosetrees Trust.

Dr Krishnamurthy will be using the fellowship to better understand why some leukaemia patients relapse following a stem cell transplant, and how donor lymphocyte infusion can help prevent this.

Leukaemia remains one of the deadliest cancers, with an overall UK survival rate of just over 50 per cent (2013-2017). Stem cell transplantation is a life-saving treatment that is often the only effective treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the most common type of acute leukaemia in adults. Yet the relapse rates following stem cell transplants are high and AML is one of the most deadly forms of blood cancer.

Further research is vital to improve survival rates as well as the quality of life for those who receive this devastating diagnosis. Dr Krishnamurthy will explore the effectiveness of a donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) and how this may correct a patient’s immune response to help eliminate remaining leukaemic cells and thereby prevent relapse.

Dr Krishnamurthy said: 

“Over 50% of patients with acute leukaemias relapse after stem cell transplant, and once this occurs, the chance of cure is unlikely. Relapse can be prevented by infusing donor-derived immune cells after the transplant. During my John Goldman Fellowship, I will explore the use of donor lymphocyte infusion to help correct defects in patients’ immune responses so that they are better able to fight their underlying cancer.”

Dr awarded prestigious fellowship to progress vital leukaemia research for stem cell transplant

To explore how donor-derived immune cells can help correct defects in a patient’s immune systems following a stem cell transplant, Dr Krishnamurthy will use a unique collection of samples from patients who received DLI on a clinical trial run in the UK, co-funded by Leukaemia UK. The PRO-DLI trial was the first prospective clinical trial worldwide to randomise patients between two different DLI strategies for relapse prevention.

This John Goldman Fellowship is co-funded by Rosetrees Trust, a charitable family foundation with a substantial track record of funding vital medical research for over thirty years.

Fiona Hazell, Chief Executive of Leukaemia UK, said:

“Around 28 people are diagnosed with leukaemia every day in the UK. For people who have been diagnosed, this can have a devastating impact on their lives, and those around them. Leukaemia UK’s John Goldman Fellowships accelerate progress towards the development of much needed new and better treatments for leukaemia and other blood cancers, helping save and improve the lives of those living with a leukaemia diagnosis.

“Leukaemia UK is delighted to be embarking on our first co-funded project with Rosetrees Trust. This partnership will enable vital new research, exploring ways to help prevent patients relapsing following a stem cell transplant.”

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