Friday, 20 October 2017

Blood Cancer Public Information Evening

Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) will host an information evening on Monday 6 November, which is open to patients, their families and to anyone interested in learning more about blood cancers. Led by NUI Galway, Blood Cancer Network Ireland is a collaborative group of doctors and scientists who have come together with the aim of increasing our understanding of blood cancers and developing new treatments for this disease. Overall the network aims to enhance research into blood cancers and, most importantly, through clinical trials it will give Irish patients access to new drugs and drug combinations that would not otherwise be possible. Blood Cancer is an umbrella term for different kinds of cancer that affect blood cells that includes cancers such as leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma. Blood cancers account for about 10% of all cancers and every year in Ireland, approximately 1600 patients are diagnosed with blood cancer and about 700 people die from this disease. There are effective treatments for some types of blood cancer, however some blood cancers become resistant to the treatment and patients relapse. There are also some blood cancers for which there are no effective treatments so there is an urgent need for new therapies. The network is unique because it is a nationwide effort that focuses on three main areas: Early stage clinical trials (phase 1 trials) which are tests designed to develop new and improved ways to treat blood cancers. This will give Irish patients access to innovative new drugs and drug combinations and an enhanced level of care which will potentially lead to better outcomes for those patients. Setup of a blood cancer biobank. This means blood and bone marrow samples from patients will be stored or ‘banked’. Scientists working on blood cancers will be able to access and analyse these samples to understand how blood cancers develop and how they become resistant to treatment. Establish a blood cancer registry. The registry will collect patients’ clinical information to better understand what treatments work best and collect patient reported information to allow the BCNI to better understand what impact the treatment has on the patients’ quality of life. This will help direct health resources to where they are most effective and where they have the most benefit for patients. Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway and Director of BCNI, said: “The information evening will give an overview of blood cancers and will shed light on the important work my colleagues in Blood Cancer Network Ireland are carrying out in blood cancer research, work that has the potential to save lives. Since our establishment in June 2015, BCNI has been at the forefront of blood cancer research in Ireland and this information evening will give us an opportunity to tell the public about our activities.” Blood Cancer Network Ireland is funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland and its members are based in universities and hospitals in Galway, Dublin and Cork. The information evening will take place in Room 2010, Top Floor of the Clinical Sciences Building, Galway University Hospital. There will be tea and coffee afterwards and the opportunity to take a tour of the clinical research facility.  For more information and directions, visit: http://www.bloodcancers.ie/bloodcancers/newsevents/blood-cancer-information-evening.html -Ends-