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Driving discovery

With your support, comes HOPE for the future.

Hope that people can be diagnosed quicker.

Hope that all Australians can gain ready access to the best possible treatment.

Hope that people not only survive their blood cancer diagnosis but live well beyond it.

This past year, you, and so many kind supporters just like you, have helped researchers tackle some of today’s biggest blood cancer challenges:

  • Increasing survival odds for children with aggressive, high risk leukaemia
  • Preventing the gruelling symptoms of Graft vs Host disease that can occur after a donor bone marrow transplant
  • Identifying a new drug that may be able to block the growth of myeloma cells
  • Working to better understand why people relapse after blood cancer treatment
  • Improving lives and life expectancy for people living with a chronic blood cancer

We invested in 18 new blood cancer research projects this year, bringing currently funded projects to 32 in 2019/20. The $4 million invested this year has leveraged almost $10 million in additional funding.

That means over the past 30 years we have made a $51.4 million commitment to blood cancer research and built powerful collaborations with Cancer Australia, Haematological Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ), Snowdome Foundation and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society.

 

Microscope in lab

Hope for new blood cancer therapies

Dr Liesl Butler, a junior haematologist at Monash University, pictured at the top of the page, is just one of the promising young blood cancer researchers boosted by kind supporters including you.

Your generosity will support Dr Butler over the next three years to investigate the gene mutations and biological pathways that lead to the development of chronic blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) to develop more effective targeted therapies.

“The MPNs are a challenging disease group which cause significant health problems and limit life expectancy; new therapies are desperately needed,” explains Dr Butler.

Read the full story

 

Over the last 12 months, generous support from people like you has backed researchers in Australia’s foremost medical institutes as they edge towards more effective prevention, faster and more accurate detection and personalised treatments.

Your support has championed the potential of up-and-coming junior scientists through to promising mid-career researchers and senior researchers and clinicians.

The answers are there to be found, and thanks to amazing people like you, Australia’s sharpest minds in blood cancer research are moving closer every day.

Long-term research breakthrough

The work of Assoc. Professor Mollee shows just how support for research can bring life-changing results.

Professor Mollee’s continued research efforts are paying off, with a breakthrough that could lead to the first drug approved for patients with the rare blood disease, AL amyloidosis.

Generous support meant the Leukaemia Foundation invested in Assoc. Professor Mollee’s international AL amyloidosis clinical trial, several years ago.

This year, the trial results spoke for themselves.

Read the full story

Dr Peter Mollee
Dr Peter Mollee

Amplifying the voice of the blood cancer community

Even today, there are major challenges standing between Australians with blood cancer and the treatment they need, like where you live or your ability to pay for costly treatment.

Thankfully, your support raises the voice of the blood cancer community.

This year kind supporters like you have ensured the Leukaemia Foundation is once again a strong campaigner for change.

  • Advocating for access: Four new blood cancer drugs are now available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (with seven more under consideration) bringing treatment within reach for thousands of families.
  • Listening to the blood cancer community: the first of its kind State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report heard the voice of people living with blood cancer, pinpointing the challenges and opportunities influencing survival and quality of life.
  • A new way forward: Backed by bighearted supporters like you, this year the Leukaemia Foundation assembled Australia’s first Blood Cancer Taskforce. This is 29 of Australia’s brightest blood cancer minds standing alongside the Federal Government and people living with blood cancer, to create a new blood cancer game plan to conquer blood cancer by 2035.

The National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer will launch in September 2020, delivering a blueprint to tackle the tough issues facing all Australians living with blood cancer.

 

Finding a solution to stem cell transplants during COVID-19

Each year, nearly 2000 Australians with blood cancer undergo a stem cell transplant and, in many cases, compatible cells come from unrelated donors overseas.

Enter COVID-19. Suddenly the collection and transport of overseas cells into Australia turned into a risky and difficult prospect.

Your ongoing support throughout the year means the Leukaemia Foundation was ready to respond swiftly, joining a crisis team with the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, leading transplant clinicians, government and Red Cross Lifeblood.

The result? For the first time, new methods of international movement of stem cells are now in place and transplant candidates can go ahead with life-saving treatment.

Your generosity in action!

Read on to see how you stepped up for Jack (pictured) and his family in their darkest hour.

Jack Mcilvar in May 2020

Jack Mcilvar, 22, needed a stem cell transplant this year to save his life after a diagnosis of aplastic anaemia.

All was going well – an overseas donor was identified, the cells were prepared for a trip to Australia, and Jack’s doctors began the normal process of destroying his already fragile immune system ahead of the transplant.

COVID-19 hit. Borders closed. Jack’s life-giving cells were stuck thousands of kilometres away.

“Our son had no immune system left and was now one of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Then (and this is where you come in!) a chance encounter in hospital. A Leukaemia Foundation team member, visiting other families with blood cancer, overheard James in the patient lounge and offered to help.

Thanks to you, that team member was in the right place at the right time. The Leukaemia Foundation was able to join forces with the crisis team and Jack’s stem cells did make it through.

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