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LBC funds innovative new research unit into blood cancer

Thursday April 18, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE

LBC funds innovative new research unit into blood cancer

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) announced last night at the opening of the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand conference they had committed over $1 million of initial funding for a Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Research Unit at Auckland University.

The unit will focus on innovative research into the causes and treatment of blood cancers and related conditions. It will be part of an integrated cancer centre planned for the University of Auckland in conjunction with the Auckland District Health Board.

The chair within the unit will be Professor Stefan Bohlander who will come on board later this year from the University of Marburg where he is currently Professor of Genetics.

It is estimated that over 10,000 people in New Zealand are living with blood cancers- leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma or a related blood condition. These conditions can affect anyone at any age at any time and little is currently known about their cause.

“We are delighted to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The University of Auckland to support innovative research that will help improve outcomes for patients,” says Pru Etcheverry, Chief Executive Officer, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

“This is a big step forward in our commitment to care and cure those diagnosed with blood cancers and related conditions. It also significantly boosts opportunities to build knowledge in this area as relates to New Zealand populations,” says Etcheverry.

This commitment from the LBC will not only help fund new research into the area of blood cancers but will also bring the patients and their families to the fore in the research we undertake,” says Professor John Fraser, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at The University of Auckland.

“The Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Research Unit will be a key link in translation of research findings into treatments for real people with these challenging conditions”.


Editor’s notes:

Key facts about blood cancers
• Every day, six New Zealanders are diagnosed with a blood cancer - that’s about 2,200 New Zealanders a year
• The cause of blood cancers is unknown
• These diseases can strike anyone, of any age, at any time, without warning
• Blood cancers combined (leukaemia, lymphoma and, myeloma) are the fifth most common cancer in New Zealand
• Immediate treatment may be necessary and that treatment can go on for months or even years.

Leukaemia
• Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer.

Lymphoma
• In New Zealand, lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer, with close to 900 people being diagnosed every year
• Lymphoma is the most common cancer affecting 15-24 year olds.

Myeloma
• Around 300 people are diagnosed with myeloma in New Zealand each year
• Pacific Islanders and Maori have a higher incidence of myeloma.

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