About chronic myeloid leukaemia

About chronic
myeloid leukaemia
Chronic myeloid
leukaemia (CML) can
occur at any age but it is
more common in adults
over the age of 50, who
account for nearly 70%
of all cases.
In Australia, around 249
people are diagnosed with
CML each year.
CML occurs more
frequently in men than
in women. It is rare in
children (0-14 years) with
around four cases per
year diagnosed in this age
group.
CML is a rare disease,
accounting for around
0.3% of all cancers
diagnosed, at a rate of
1.3 per 100,000 of the
population.
1800 620 420
www.leukaemia.org.au
Shelley Bell had just turned
30 and was 10 weeks
pregnant with her fourth
child when the blood test
to confirm her pregnancy
showed she had leukaemia.
Her obstetrician said she may
have to think about terminating
the baby and Shelley felt
absolute disbelief at the
situation that was unfolding.
“It was a bit surreal and it
didn’t really hit me because
then the haematologist rang
me straight away. I had to
arrange a babysitter, call my
husband and go straight to
hospital. The haematologist
said it was either chronic
myeloid leukaemia (CML),
which he hoped it was, or
acute myeloid leukaemia
(AML).”
At the time, Shelley recalled
Shelley Bell with her newborn, Amelie
from her uni days studying to be
developed and it was supposed to stop
an occupational therapist that CML was
the leukaemia from getting worse.
the “dodgy one” and that it didn’t have a
“It did get my blood to within normal
good prognosis, but that was 10 years ago.
limits so it was safe to have my baby,”
At the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,
explained Shelley who was sick
in Perth, Shelley and her husband, Jon,
throughout her pregnancy due to the
a GP, were told there was a new CML
Interferon.
treatment – Glivec – and although not a
At 20 weeks, an ultrasound showed
cure, this targeted therapy prolonged your
Shelley was expecting a healthy girl.
life. But she couldn’t take this oral form of
chemotherapy while she was pregnant.
“It was so exciting and it got us through
the rest of the pregnancy, dreaming of
Shelley had a bone marrow biopsy and
girls and pink,” said Shelley about the
two days later the result confirmed Shelley
impending arrival of their first daughter
had CML: “My haematologist consulted
who they secretly named Amelie.
with his colleagues as to how to treat
my CML as he had never known of a
The Bells already had three sons, Lachlan,
patient diagnosed with CML during their
five, Isaac, three and Samuel, one.
pregnancy.
Shelley was induced at 37 weeks - as soon
“In the end he put me on Interferon,
which was self-injected every second
day throughout the pregnancy. This was
the treatment used before Glivec was
as the baby could be born safely and she
could begin the new treatment.
Continued on Page 2
PAGE 1
Every year, across the country, World’s Greatest Shave
participants strive to make the Top 30 fundraisers in
their state.
This is a significant achievement and is a major
contributor to the final fundraising total for the national
fundraising event. Each of the state Top 30 fundraisers
also qualify to challenge for a place in the National Top
30 fundraisers. This year’s national group has an amazing
variety of teams, from friends, individuals and clubs to
a range of different industry corporates from across the
country. Together, the National Top 30 contributed $1.6
million to this year’s fundraising total – a fantastic effort.
NO.
NAME
STATE
1
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PricewaterhouseCoopers
BHP Billiton
Mitchell & Partners
Xstrata
Suncorp/GIO
Rio Tinto
IGA QNN
Investa Property Group
Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd
Darcy’s Family and Friends
nab
Bellevue Hill Group
Transfield Worley / Woodside Energy
ESS
Smith & Sons Engineering Team
Tarong Energy & Thiess Meandu Mine
Oxiana Limited
Hall’s Greatest Shave
Mayor Sonya Phillips
Westpac
PWCS Project 3Exp
Glenfords Discount Tool Centre
The Todhunter and Loneragan Family
Stuart Bishop
Cathy Mooney and Loma Willis
Dorothy Pratt MP
Worksite Fitness and Rehabilitation
Beverley Uranium Mine
St Marys Leagues Club
Sentdale – Graincorp Wool
VIC
QLD
QLD
QLD
NSW
WA
QLD
NSW
QLD
WA
QLD
NSW
WA
WA
QLD
QLD
SA
ACT
NSW
NSW
NSW
QLD
NSW
QLD
NSW
QLD
WA
SA
NSW
VIC
Rick Millen, Partner, PwC Foundation, left, and Peter Cox,
CEO, Leukaemia Foundation of Australia
Continued from Page 1
She went off the Interferon for a couple of days before
the birth, to build up her strength, and Amelie was born
on June 3.
“She was born so healthy and against the odds,” said
Shelley who began taking Glivec the following day.
She takes one tablet every night.
“I’ll take it for life if it works for me. It reduces the
number of Philadelphia chromosomes in the body
which stops the white blood cells increasing.”
Shelley’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result was
129 when she was diagnosed on December 5 last year.
It went up to 170 when she went on Interferon, then
dropped to 22 after four weeks on Glivec, which is a
really good result.
“It’s so much easier compared to when I was pregnant.
I feel quite well. Now it’s just a waiting game.
“I have to see if I keep responding. I’m sure it will work,
it’s going well,” Shelley said.
She has a PCR test every three months and complete
blood counts every month.
During her pregnancy Shelley was well supported by
family, friends and the church and now she has a nanny
several times a week which is a huge help.
12 – 14 March 2009. Mark this date in your diary
today and join thousands of Australians who will
shave or colour their hair for the Leukaemia Foundation
next year. From November 1, you can register online
at www.worldsgreatestshave.com or call us on
1800 620 420 for more information.
PAGE 2
“The Leukaemia Foundation has been wonderful. I
rang them about nannies and they sent out a lady to
play with the children so I could go shopping,” she
said. “I also went to an information session on chronic
leukaemia where I met someone else with chronic
leukaemia who I’ve caught up with a couple of times.”
The Leukaemia Foundation is helping to fund a clinical
trial designed to improve treatment strategies for
patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
The Foundation awarded an $81,225 Grant-in-Aid to the
Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Director of
Haematology Research, Professor Timothy Hughes, to
help fund a three-year Phase IV clinical trial of the drug
Glivec, also known as imatinib mesylate.
In the past decade, CML treatment has been
revolutionised by Glivec, with more than 80% of newly
diagnosed patients entering complete cytogenetic*
remission after treatment with the drug.
However, Professor Hughes, who is internationally
renowned for his work in refining the treatment strategies
for Glivec, hopes to develop better treatment strategies
for patients who are resistant to treatment. He will be
studying 100 CML patients resistant to Glivec.
“If we can identify the different ways CML cells resist
treatment, we can develop the best tests to predict
responses and develop
better treatment guidelines
for clinicians,” Professor
Hughes said. “There’s also
the potential for our findings
to lead to the development
of new treatment strategies.”
While it is known that more
than 90 DNA mutations
are associated with Glivec
resistance, Professor Hughes Professor Timothy Hughes
has found that in 60% of
resistant cases with mutations,
one of nine common mutations is involved. Treatment
options for patients with these common mutations will
be looked at as well. The study was co-funded by the
pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Bristol-Myers
Squibb.
* No abnormal chromosomes detected in white blood
cells.
THE HISTORY OF GLIVEC: More than 150 years of research led to the release of the pharmaceutical drug,
imatinib, to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). The drug acts selectively on an abnormal gene which is
expressed in 90% of CML cases.
1845
1960
1973
1980s
1993
1996
2001
John Hughes
Bennett first
described
chronic myeloid
leukaemia
Peter Nowell
and David
Hungerford
discovered the
Philadelphia
chromosome, a
single mutation
which causes
90% of CML
cases
Janet Rowley
discovered that
the Philadelphia
chromosome
is a reciprocal
translocation
between
chromosomes 9
and 22, forming
the abnormal
bcr-abl gene
Novartis
screened
chemical
libraries for a
compound to
inhibit the
bcr-abl gene
Dr Brian Druker
began testing
Novartis’ drug
candidates
Dr Druker in
collaboration
with Dr Charles
Sawyers and Dr
Moshe Talpaz
began clinical
trials. They
demonstrated
that the chemical
stopped bcr-abl
expressing cells
from multiplying
Novartis
received FDA
approval to
market Gleevec
(Glivec in
Australia
and Europe)
In 2007, the Leukaemia Foundation awarded grants for
more than 20 research projects. Some of the exciting
developments into blood cancer treatments are listed below.
• The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute’s Associate
Professor Ricky Johnstone, successfully demonstrated
that when used in combination, two new experimental
drugs killed several forms of drug resistant lymphomas.
• Associate Professor Jacqueline Matthews, Associate
Professor Joel Mackay and Professor Merlin Crossley
from The University of Sydney developed new drug
candidates to potentially treat T-cell leukemias.
• Associate Professor Geoff Hill and Dr Kelli MacDonald
from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research
studied the roles of two types of white blood cells
in directing the immune system after a stem cell
transplant. The pair found one cell type suppressed
while the other induced graft-versus-host disease.
Their findings could lead to the development of a new
immunotherapy.
• PhD student, Leigh Ellis, completed his studies at the
Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. Leigh uncovered the
mechanism by which two new anti-blood cancer drugs
work. His work will facilitate the clinical development
of these drugs and allow their combination with other
chemotherapeutic agents.
• Jennifer Hsu also completed her PhD in 2007. The
Mater Medical Research Institute (Brisbane) student
defined and validated four potential antigens for
developing an immunotherapeutic myeloma vaccine.
• South Australian Honours student, Subromata Das,
found evidence for the role of a new gene in acute
myeloid leukaemia, with defects in the gene leading
to the uncontrolled growth of leukaemia cells. More
extensive studies are being undertaken at the Child
Health Research Institute, The University of Adelaide.
• Honours student Dana Ihdayhid developed the basis
for the clinical manufacturing protocol of mesenchymal
stromal cells (MSC) at Royal Perth Hospital. This has
allowed Lawrence Liew, a 2008 grant recipient, to
study the role of MSC in stem cell transplants.
PAGE 3
Clinical trials are the vital, final research stage in
developing new medical treatments to improve
people’s health and wellbeing.
Phase IV - after approval, researchers continue to
monitor the risks, benefits and optimal use of new
treatments.
They are the most exciting research stage, often
following decades of comprehensive investigation,
because they herald the arrival of a potential new
treatment which can be used in humans for the first
time. All new drugs and treatment regimens are legally
required to go through clinical trials to ensure they are
safe and effective. The benefits, side-effects and cost
are also assessed. Clinical trials undertaken in Australia
generally involve four sequential phases and in each
phase, the number of people involved is increased.
New treatments which successfully complete a Phase III
trial are submitted to the Australian Therapeutic Goods
Administration to be approved for general use in treating
patients.
Phase I – determines the safe dosage of a treatment to
be given to a patient and whether there are major side
effects.
Clinical trials give blood cancer patients the opportunity
to access a new treatment several years before it
becomes routinely available. By taking part in a clinical
trial, blood cancer patients also benefit future patients
by enabling researchers to obtain essential information
about the possible benefits while reducing side-effects
of new treatments – details that cannot be discovered by
any other means.
Phase III – compares the new treatment with current
standard treatments to work out which is best.
Patients are carefully screened to assess their suitability
for a clinical trial and are monitored throughout to
ensure they are receiving the most appropriate treatment
for their blood cancer. It is a patient’s choice to join a
trial. They can withdraw at any time and return to the
standard treatment for their type of blood cancer.
The Leukaemia Foundation is helping to fund seven
Australian clinical trials.
drugs and innovative treatments simply wouldn’t
proceed without the Leukaemia Foundation’s funding.
Leukaemia Foundation of Australia CEO, Peter Cox, said
the Foundation was committed to helping fund each
research stage, including clinical trials, in developing
new treatments and cures for blood cancers: “Clinical
trials can be prohibitively expensive and some new
“We’re proud to play a part in helping Australian blood
cancer patients access new treatments and drugs
sooner. However, our support is severely limited by our
funding, so I would strongly encourage people to donate
to our National Research Program,” Peter said.
Phase II – tests how effective the treatment is and
collects further information on safety.
Phase
Application
Researcher
Institution
Funding
I
Post stem cell transplant: donor cells to treat
viral infections
Dr Emily Blyth
Westmead
Institute for
Cancer Research
(NSW)
Clinical Fellowship,
$300,000 over three years
Dr Simon He
Royal Melbourne
Hospital
Clinical Fellowship,
$150,000 over three years
Evaluating whether DNA PCR can distinguish
CML patients who remain in molecular
response from those who relapse if imatinib
treatment is withdrawn
Dr David Ross
Institute of
Medical and
Veterinary
Science (SA)
PhD - $120,000
over three years
II
Risk-adapted IV melphalan in patients with AL
amyloidosis
Dr Peter Mollee
Princess
Alexandra
Hospital (Qld)
$103,000
IV
Improved treatment regimens for chronic
myeloid leukaemia patients resistant to the
drug imatinib mesilate (Glivec)
Professor Timothy
Hughes
IMVS (SA)
$81,225 Grant-in-Aid
Trialing treatment regimen for core binding
factor acute myeloid leukaemia
Ass/Professor
Paula Marlton
Princess
Alexandra
Hospital (Qld)
$840,000 over seven years
Trialing treatment regimen for acute
promyelocytic leukaemia
Ass/Professor
Harry Iland
Royal Prince
Alfred Hospital
(NSW)
$70,000
Post stem cell transplant: dendritic cell vaccine
for viruses
New treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia
New drug, CSL360, for acute myeloid
leukaemia
PAGE 4
Sarah Lukeman had two hours to decide whether to
go on a clinical trial for a new treatment for acute
promyelocytic leukaemia.
“I had to sit in a hospital room and decide. I couldn’t do
any research,” said Sarah. She had just arrived in Perth
from Carnarvon, because she had “funny blood results”
and had been told she had a very rare leukaemia
subtype.
“I just had to go with what the doctor recommended.
He said in his experience people on trials tended to do
better and there wasn’t a lot of downside to doing it.”
That night, 17 March 2006, Sarah was the first patient
in Western Australia to begin the trial – a 30-month
program comprising the standard treatment plus arsenic
trioxide.
“What made this trial different was that it was not a
drug company-led trial. Research on the drug came out
of India and it was very cheap,” said the mother of two Hannah, eight and Katrina, six.
Sarah, 39, finished her treatment when she took her
last tablets in July but she will have three more bone
marrow biopsies, one every quarter, to complete
monitoring associated with the trial.
“Everything’s fine. I’m in complete molecular remission.
They can’t see any cancer at all,” said Sarah who is
working at regaining her energy and stamina.
This month (October) she headed off to the Middle East
for three weeks with two of her sisters.
Sarah described her participation in the Australia and
New Zealand-wide clinical trial as “a great thing”:
“There was a lot more rigour on the testing so I had
more biopsies, blood tests and CT scans because they
wanted as much information as possible for the trial.
Sarah Lukeman in remission after new treatment trial
“This meant I had a good idea of what was going on
day-to-day during the early stages of treatment.
“There were also certain requirements, such as keeping
my platelet level higher than for the usual treatment.”
Sarah had 12 bone marrow biopsies - more than
normally necessary, as a result of the trial. They involve
inserting a big needle into the pelvis to draw out a
sample of bone marrow, called an aspirate.
“But in the scheme of things it was a small
inconvenience,” said Sarah. “I also had a lot of
chromosomal assays done on the bone marrow aspirate
so I know, that at a chromosomal level, no leukaemic
cells have been detected.”
A story on Sarah Lukeman was featured on page one
of the Spring 2006 issue of The Carer when the family
was staying at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Bassendean
accommodation units. The family now lives in Perth.
Dr Val Lishman, who was the first surgical specialist in
Western Australia’s southwest area, has been appointed
as a Community Ambassador for regional WA.
The Bunbury resident immigrated to the area, three
hours drive south of Perth, in 1965, where he played
an instrumental role in the development of the Sports
Fitness Assessment Centre, the South West Games and
the Bunbury City to Surf Fun Run.
His strong community focus saw Dr Lishman awarded
with an Australian Medal and the Rotary International
Paul Harris Award.
The Val Lishman Health Research Foundation is about
to celebrate 10 years of medical research and the
investment of more than $1 million in health research in
the area.
In 2006, Dr Lishman was diagnosed with acute myeloid
leukaemia and spent four months in the Royal Perth
Hospital undergoing treatment.
Now in remission, he has embraced his new role as
Community Ambassador, Dr Val Lishman
an ambassador. He assists the Leukaemia Foundation
by attending education sessions and speaking with
attendees (patients, carers and nurses). He will
be a guest speaker for one of the Bereavement
Support Groups and his participation in community
presentations will help raise the Foundation’s profile
throughout the southwest.
PAGE 5
Do I start another bonsai, or do I plant annuals? That is
how Nelva Carter asked her doctor about her prognosis
when she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic
leukaemia (CLL) 10 years ago.
“I was told I could have two to three years of good
quality life or I could have longer – it’s 10 years now,”
said Nelva, an 86 year-old widow who lives at Mt
Gambier.
“I went shopping after the diagnosis and there were some
sick looking roses in Coles. One looked as sick and near
death as I felt, so I bought it, took it home and dropped
it a hole.
“The rose thrived and it’s absolutely beautiful, and I’m
going along alright.”
Nelva calls it her “leukaemia rose” and over the years
she’s taken lots of cuttings which she’s given away to
friends. She also has a cutting from the original rose
growing at her retirement village.
“It roots well and is a very vigorous and beautiful pink
rose. Everyone who gets leukaemia can have one of my
leukaemia roses. If anyone wants one, they can have a
cutting,” said Nelva who also has started a bonsai.
Having CLL is the least of Nelva’s health concerns, as she
is recovering from a knee replacement, has deep vein
thrombosis and suffers from arthritis.
She is also a long-term cancer survivor, having first been
diagnosed with lip cancer when she was an eighteen
year old, and again more recently.
Nelva Carter with Steve Marshall, Manager Support Services SA/NT
“When I found out I had leukaemia, I was very sick and
had a total lack of strength and energy,” said Nelva,
who was initially treated for CLL. “I had massive doses
of prednisolone which sent me psychotic and it took me
four and a half years to get off it. It was worse than the
CLL.” Nelva has several friends of a similar age who also
have CLL.
“My specialist said we get by as well with medication as
without it. I’m assessed as fairly low level so I don’t take
any medication for it now. I do have my blood monitored
every little while. It shows I’ve still got it (CLL) but it’s not
changing.”
Nelva said she had received a great deal of assistance
from the Leukaemia Foundation over the years and had
received regular visits from the support services staff who
she described as “very alive and kind people”.
To help empower patients and carers, the Leukaemia
Foundation offers disease-specific and general
education programs in regional and metropolitan
areas across Australia.
The programs provide up-to-date information regarding
diagnosis, treatment, recovery and how to deal with the
emotional roller coaster associated with having a blood
cancer. They also provide opportunities to hear from
specialist doctors and allied health professionals and
meet other people who have a similar diagnosis and
may relate to their situation.
The different stages of a blood cancer diagnosis are
covered including the initial diagnosis, treatment, sideeffects as well as the physical, social and psychological
impacts. Longer-term effects and life after cancer,
including issues surrounding surviving cancer and grief
may also be discussed.
A range of disease-specific programs are available
for people living with acute leukaemias, chronic
leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma, MDS, MPDs and
amyloidosis.
These programs provide tailored information and
support and may include researchers and clinician guest
speakers to provide updates on diagnosis, treatments
and future directions in research.
PAGE 6
Frankie Durack speaking at the information session
The Leukaemia Foundation in Western Australia
recently held a successful education program called
Communication – how to get what you need, presented
by Frankie Durack from Eika Counselling. The
information session, attended by 45 guests, focused on
keeping the lines of communication open so everyone
affected by a blood disorder can be heard.
Frankie’s experience covers a range of issues and
specialty areas including cancer related issues, loss,
grief, bereavement and chronic illness.
For information on programs in your state, contact
the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420 or visit
www.leukaemia.org.au.
Julienne Baker, left, Sue Andruskin with her grand-daughter, Avalon Coleman, centre, and the late Ian Baker, right
Sisters, Julienne Baker and Sue Andruskin, both have
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) - a cancer that
runs in the Baker family.
Their father, grandfather and great grandfather all died
of leukaemia.
One of their father’s brothers has CLL and his two sons
have precursors to the disease. Another of their father’s
brothers who died of skin cancer also had CLL, and his
son has CLL.
It turns out that their family is the largest known family
with CLL and the Bakers became the subject of a
familial study published in the May 2008 issue of the
British Journal of Haematology.
Julienne’s and Sue’s father, Ian Baker, was diagnosed
with CLL when he was 37 and died 10 years later.
“He never told us. He just said he had a funny thing
happening in his blood,” said Sue.
“He had blood tests regularly, used to get tired a lot,
had nosebleeds and often got the flu. The last time the
flu turned into pneumonia and pleurisy, he went into
hospital and a couple of days later that was it.”
Until the younger of the two sisters, Julienne, 46, was
diagnosed eight years ago, Sue thought that it was “a
male thing”.
“Then when Julie was diagnosed, I thought it had
skipped me,” said Sue. “But it hadn’t.”
Sue, 53, was diagnosed a couple of years later. Both
sisters live at Erskine Park in western Sydney and they
both see Professor James Wiley at Nepean Hospital.
“He said it would be helpful if we could find any other
family members with the disease,” said Sue, who began
looking into the family tree.
She discovered their great grandfather had married
twice, fathering 24 children. Sue contacted one of his
grand-daughters from his second marriage.
“The more I went into it, the more people I found who
had CLL listed on their death certificates.”
Blood samples were taken and DNA tests revealed that
of 144 family members, 11 have CLL and a further five
have a precursor form of the disease.
“CLL is a slow growing leukaemia and for most people
you have it and you die of natural causes,” explained
Sue. “But for some reason, mine has gone crazy.”
Sue used to see Professor Wiley every four months but
now it’s every two weeks. Her white cell blood count
got up to 144 and five months of chemotherapy brought
it down to nine.
“Then I came out with a rash five months ago and
nobody knows what it is.
“The CLL is acting differently in Julienne,” Sue said.
Julienne was diagnosed after having pneumonia
for 12 months and her only treatment is a monthly
immunoglobulin transfusion, to help boost her immune
system.
“I got last prize in the lottery,” said Julienne, who has
developed cold agglutinin, a rare autoimmune disease,
and her latest blood test showed her leukaemic cells
had jumped 25%.
“I know it’s going to happen but I’ve pushed it to the
back of my mind because I don’t want to live my life
with one foot in the grave.
“I just have to accept it but I’m really worried about my
kids, my sisters’ kids and everyone else’s kids getting it,”
said Julienne.
“That’s why I transferred to Professor Wiley. He was
doing a lot of research and if there’s even an inkling
they can help our kids, I’ll do what I can.”
CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKAEMIA
B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) accounts
for around 25% of all leukaemias and is the most
common lymphoid malignancy in Western countries.
The risk of developing CLL increases with age. Almost
80% of all new cases are diagnosed in people over
the age of 60 years. CLL is rare in people under 40.
It occurs more frequently in men than in women.
Approximately 10% of CLL cases have a
family history of the disease or a related B-cell
lymphoproliferative disorder.
PAGE 7
The Leukaemia Foundation is funding the development
of a new pharmaceutical treatment for childhood
leukaemia.
In 2008, the Foundation awarded a $94,000 Grant-inAid to Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical
Research scientists, Dr Michelle Henderson, Dr Rosemary
Sutton, Professor Murray Norris and Professor Michelle
Haber, to continue their research into a new drug to treat
a lethal form of infant leukaemia.
While almost 80% of children survive leukaemia,
the survival prognosis is dismal for infants, many of
whom develop an aggressive subtype which expresses
a defective form - the MLL gene, according to Dr
Henderson.
“The eventual outcome for these children is poor, largely
due to toxicity from the harsh drug treatment they receive,
so there is a desperate need to develop less intensive,
more specific treatments for this disease,” she said.
In a bid to develop a highly specific treatment, the
researchers spent two years screening a library of more
than 34,000 compounds to identify drug candidates
which targeted the abnormal MLL gene.
After several cycles of screening, they identified six
closely related compounds with strong specificity towards
the leukaemia gene and are working with specialised
chemists to design a range of active compounds that can
be tested for their suitability for clinical use.
“It’s exciting to be on the cusp of breaking the vicious
treatment cycle facing infants with leukaemia and their
parents,” said Dr Henderson.
“Our hope for
these patients is
that in the near
future it will
be possible to
treat them with
a specific MLL
drug which has
few or no sideeffects.”
If the research
is successful, a
new treatment
could be
available to treat
children within
the next 10
years.
Dr Michelle Henderson
In addition, Dr
Henderson and
Dr Sutton are collaborating on an international clinical
trial, Interfant-06. Joining with clinical groups in more
than 16 countries, their team will assess monitoring and
treatment regimens for infant ALL to help improve survival
rates.
“The results from our participation in the Interfant-06
study will help ensure children receive the optimal
level of treatment for their leukaemia. Ultimately, this
will maximise the potential for cure, while reducing
the potential for side-effects, ensuring the best possible
clinical outcome for these patients,” said Dr Henderson.
September saw the launch of a new and
magical event for the Leukaemia Foundation.
Light the Night was piloted in South Australia,
Western Australia and Queensland this year
and will be rolled out to the rest of the country
in 2009.
Thousands of participants came together with
glowing balloons of different colours with a
special meaning. Gold balloons remembered
a loved one, white balloons celebrated being
a blood cancer survivor and blue balloons
gave hope as a supporter of the Leukaemia
Foundation.
The inaugural Light the Night in Adelaide
In Western Australia, Light the Night was held at
Burswood Park, near the bank of the Swan River.
Johnny Young of Young Talent Time fame and radio
station 6IX was MC and Network Ten did a live weather
cross, following on from a national news story the
previous Sunday.
In South Australia, Elder Park was the picturesque
PAGE 8
location of Light the Night where the expected crowd
more than doubled as the event began and a range
of on stage entertainment added to the evening’s
special atmosphere.
In Queensland, Southbank in Brisbane and Fogarty
Park in Cairns hosted Light the Night simultaneously.
The threat of rain in Brisbane didn’t dampen enthusiasm
for the event and in Cairns, numbers also exceeded
expectation.
With Leukaemia Foundation funding, scientists
from the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia
for Medical Research (CCIA) in NSW are making
significant advances in improving survival from
childhood leukaemia.
The Foundation awarded more than $250,000 to four
CCIA scientists in 2007 to study the secrets of leukaemia
cells resistant to conventional treatment.
Associate Professor Maria Kavallaris in collaboration with
Associate Professor Richard Lock and Professor Peter
Gunning (Pharmacology, UNSW) discovered a new way
in which leukaemia cells resist anticancer drugs.
The team focused their studies on ‘microtubule-targeted’
chemotherapy drugs, such as vincristine, that are
commonly used to treat childhood leukaemia.
“We were the first to find that leukaemia cells can
develop resistance to vincristine via a protein called
gamma-actin,” said Associate Professor Kavallaris.
“Excitingly, we also found that that the resistance can be
reversed using a combination of treatments.
“Our findings are now being used to develop strategies
to successfully treat this form of childhood leukaemia
resistance.”
Associate Professors Kavallaris and Lock also investigated
resistance to glucocorticoids, one of the most successful
agents used to treat childhood leukaemia.
The pair discovered that changes, known as deacetylation, to the Bim gene were associated with
leukaemia cells’ resistance to glucocorticoids.
However, in laboratory experiments resistant cells were
re-sensitised to glucocorticoids when treated with drugs
which stopped the Bim gene from undergoing changes.
According to Associate Professor Lock, the findings
provide proof that glucocorticoid resistance can be
reversed in childhood leukaemia.
“Through our research, we can offer hope for many
blood cancer patients who face a poor prognosis due to
treatment failure,” he said.
In a third laboratory-based research project, Associate
Professors Lock and Glenn Marshall tested the new
experimental drug, ABT-737, and found it improved the
action of a range of chemotherapy drugs.
“Further research is needed but we believe it’s
possible that ABT-737 could be used in combination
with chemotherapy drugs to help overcome childhood
leukaemia resistance as well as reduce the doses
required and side-effects,” said Associate Professor Lock.
The results of this research were recently published in the
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
BAE Systems Australia employees chose the Leukaemia
Foundation as their new charity partner for their
Charity Challenge campaign.
This worldwide initiative encourages employees to
participate in fundraising and hands-on volunteer
work and to develop skills in project management,
communication and teamwork by being an active
member of their local community.
Selecting the charity for the 18-month campaign was
a detailed process by the 5500 employees at BAE
Systems, which is a leader in the delivery and support of
advanced defence and aerospace systems.
In May, BAE Systems announced that the Leukaemia
Foundation had been selected as its sole Australian
charity partner for the Charity Challenge campaign in
2008/09.
“BAE Systems Australia is looking forward to developing
a rewarding partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation,
helping to raise much needed funding and awareness
for the work of the Foundation,” said Wayne Achurch,
Director Human Resources and Charity Challenge
champion.
Representatives from the Foundation and Charity
Challenge are busy working together to develop a
calendar of national and site-based fundraising and
volunteering opportunities for employee participation.
Employees from BAE Systems Australia North Ryde site competed
in the Sun Herald City 2 Surf as part of the Leukaemia Legends
team in August
PAGE 9
In Victoria, patients who have had a bone
marrow transplant and their carers can
participate in a new Bone Marrow Transplant
Support Program.
The Leukaemia Foundation in Victoria is offering
the program so transplant recipients, regardless
of where they had their transplant, can meet, talk
and share their journeys with others.
The inaugural meeting was held in August at the
Foundation’s Box Hill office in Melbourne and
was well attended by a dynamic group of posttransplant patients.
Some members, who had their transplants more
than seven years ago, were able to share their
personal experiences with others who were just
starting their journeys.
There is a diverse range of expertise among the
group who will continue to meet on a bi-monthly
basis. This will undoubtedly lead to many
interesting discussions on topics such as finances,
diet, meditation and general health issues.
Attendees at the first BMT Support Program meeting
The group enjoyed the opportunity to share their
experiences, to socialise and to work together to define
the group’s objectives and how the Foundation’s
Support Services team can meet the needs of the group
into the future.
Leukaemia Foundation funded researchers from
Sydney’s Westmead Institute for Cancer Research are
pioneering a new lifesaving immunotherapy treatment.
to chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients who have
become immune-compromised from chemotherapy
treatment.
The researchers have successfully used donor immune
cells to help blood cancer patients survive lethal viral
infections following a bone marrow transplant.
“This project is timely given the emergence of viral
drug resistance, which makes the investigation of new
therapies a high priority,” said Dr Blyth.
While a transplant is the only treatment avenue open to
many patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia,
lymphoma and myeloma, the procedure leaves the
patient’s immune system severely weakened.
Leukaemia Foundation CEO, Peter Cox, said the
Foundation was delighted with the outcomes of the
research: “More than half of bone marrow transplant
patients die from complications, including viral
infections, so it is imperative that we improve the
survival rate.
Normally harmless viral infections can cause serious
illness and even death post transplant. However, Dr
Kenneth Micklethwaite has successfully treated 21
patients for one of the most common post-transplant
viruses, cytomegalovirus (CMV).
“Anti-CMV immune cells were taken from the bone
marrow donor, grown in the laboratory, and injected
into the patient,” said Dr Micklethwaite. “Subsequently
none of 21 patients needed treatment with the toxic
anti-CMV drugs.
“It’s hoped that these anti-CMV cells will prevent CMV
infection which would improve the survival rate of bone
marrow transplant patients, making it a safer and more
effective treatment for people with leukaemia.”
The procedure is being further refined and tested against
additional viruses in a clinical trial run by haematologist,
Dr Emily Blyth.
If the trial is successful, Dr Blyth will apply the treatment
PAGE 10
“The outstanding research results from Dr Ken
Micklethwaite and Dr Emily Blyth’s studies will give
hope to the 9500 Australians diagnosed each year
with a blood cancer. The Leukaemia Foundation is
committed to funding innovative Australian research into
better treatments and cures for blood cancers,” Peter
said.
Dr Micklethwaite’s research was published in the
journal, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
The article was recently awarded the 2007 Westmead
Millennium Institute prize for science and the 2007
American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
George Santos prize for the best article published by a
new investigator.
He is currently undertaking a two-year research
scholarship at the Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy,
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, in Texas.
Rhonda Lynch broke all the records,
had no bad side-effects, and earned a
reputation with her doctors for being
‘bullet proof’ during her treatment for
leukaemia earlier this year.
The 56 year-old Tyers woman attributes
this amazing success to positive thinking,
which she has practiced all her life.
“I’ve always had a positive mental
attitude and have read positive books
and listened to tapes for 20 years,” said
Rhonda who woke in early April with a
bad pain under her ribs.
She thought she’d broken a rib, blaming
an incident a couple of weeks earlier
when she had been “zapped by an
electric fence”.
“I’d never had pain like this,” said Rhonda
who couldn’t get to casualty at Traralgon
Hospital until three days later because
she was house-sitting and looking after
several dogs.
Chatting to the doctor while waiting for
her X-ray result, Rhonda told her she’d
Rhonda Lynch, left, and her sister Janine, the day after she went home from
Melbourne
been falling asleep in her chair at home
and that wasn’t like her. She decided to do
But I still have a long way to go.”
blood tests and these showed her white cell
count was up and something was wrong with her red
Rhonda believes setting goals is important and so is
blood cells.
having something to look forward to.
Rhonda went straight to Melbourne by ambulance for
She’d never been to Cairns and one morning at 3am,
more tests and a bone marrow biopsy and she reckons
when she was in hospital during the first two weeks
she got rid of her leukaemia on that journey: “I threw
of her treatment, she got on the Internet and booked
the leukaemia out of my body half way down, when I
a ticket for her and her sister, Janine O’Ryan, to go to
had to swap ambulances.”
Cairns on November 23 to visit her nieces.
On the road she decided the leukaemia wasn’t going
That was before Rhonda knew she was having a
with her to Melbourne and that instead she was going
transplant or that her leave pass – 100 days post
there to be “recharged”.
transplant - was November 21!
Next Rhonda set a goal on the treatment: “I knew the
chemo was toxic so I made a decision that whatever
they gave me would work but nothing would affect me.”
Rhonda was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic
leukaemia with the Philadelphia chromosome on April
6 this year.
“I didn’t know anything about leukaemia and when the
doctors asked if I had any questions, I said I didn’t need
to know anything.”
She began treatment straight away and six weeks later
was in remission.
“I was to have had six rounds of chemo and was on
round four when they decided to do the transplant
because everything was going so well,” explained
Rhonda.
She went into hospital for her bone marrow transplant
on August 4, was released from hospital on Day 12 and
went home on Day 28, in record time.
“Nothing has gone wrong. I’m already in the textbooks.
“When I look back, I sailed through the treatment –
but I knew I had it beaten when I went down there.
“My mental attitude got me through. You can beat it –
you just have to set your mind to it and block out the
negatives. If one comes in, turn it into a positive.
“I broke records in every department and they smiled
when I got a bit of a temperature during the transplant,
but two Panadol fixed that!
“I’ve always said to myself: I’ve got a strong and healthy
body and I’m never sick,” said Rhonda.
“I said I’d live to 100. Now it’s 120 because I have to set
some new goals.”
The Leukaemia Foundation provided Rhonda with
accommodation for several months at North Melbourne,
across the road from The Royal Melbourne Hospital,
and petrol vouchers which she used to make several
trips home to Traralgon for a break between treatments.
PAGE 11
Since 2004, World Lymphoma
Awareness Day (WLAD) has been held
on September 15.
It strives to raise awareness of lymphoma
across the global community among
the general public, patients and their
families and friends, patient support
groups, physicians and other healthcare
professionals involved in treating
lymphoma.
WLAD is an initiative of the Lymphoma
Coalition, a global non-profit network
organisation of lymphoma patient groups
and organisations, dedicated to raising
awareness of lymphoma. The Coalition
has 35 member groups from 29 countries
and includes the Leukaemia Foundation
of Australia.
The Foundation supports WLAD because
of its excellent opportunity to raise
awareness of both the disease itself and
the symptoms of lymphoma, which are
often confused with other conditions by
both GPs and patients.
From left: Professor Bik To, Head of Haematology, Royal Adelaide Hospital,
Ashleigh Moore, Executive of Cancer Voices, Wendy Chapman MP, and from the
Leukaemia Foundation, Simon Matthias, General Manager SA/NT
This year, the Foundation focused on
two WLAD activities - patient education and General
Practitioner education.
To meet the needs of GPs, the Foundation developed
a GP-specific diagnostic tool, which is available online,
to assist GPs in diagnosing lymphoma via key questions
to ask patients and a flow chart. As well as promoting
WLAD within the medical profession, the tool should
assist patients, with symptoms of lymphoma, to be
diagnosed earlier, thereby positively impacting their
future outcomes.
An exciting new partnership expands the existing
Cancer Connect program to include people who have
been treated for leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and
related blood disorders.
Cancer Connect is a peer support program developed
by the Cancer Council. It provides one-to-one phone
support to people diagnosed with cancer by specially
trained consumer volunteers.
The Leukaemia Foundation has collaborated with
the Cancer Council Victoria, Myeloma Foundation
and Bone Marrow Donor Institute to create Cancer
Connect-Blood Disorders and BMT (bone marrow
transplantation) which will be launched this month.
Samantha Schembri, Manager, Support Services in
Victoria was a member of the working party that
PAGE 12
Lymphoma education programs for patients and families
were held across the country in September.
In South Australia, an open invitation was extended to
those living with lymphoma to join Foundation staff for
lunch on World Lymphoma Awareness Day.
That evening, a function held to launch the GPs
diagnostic tool, was attended by GPs, haematologists
and allied health professionals, and South Australian
WLAD Ambassador, Vicki Chapman MP, shared
her personal story of losing her husband to lymphoma
in 2001.
recruited and trained the first group of new blood
cancer volunteers.
“This program is an exciting addition to the quality
support services that the Leukaemia Foundation in
Victoria can offer newly diagnosed patients,” Samantha
said.
“We often get requests from new patients saying: ‘I wish
I could speak to someone who has the same thing as
me’.”
Cancer Connect’s match process is simple and
streamlined. If it identifies that peer support is needed,
Leukaemia Foundation Support Services staff can
implement a Cancer Connect match with one phone
call to the Cancer Information and Support Service at
the Cancer Council.
The most traumatic part of Dimphiny
O’Shaughnessy’s experience with
myeloma was being told by her GP that
she might have cancer.
Deeny - as she is better known - just
collapsed at the mention of the ‘c’ word
according to her husband, Peter, a retired
industrial chemist, and the comment set off
clinical depression, which she still battles.
Over the previous six months, Deeny,
66, of Bunbury, had regularly seen her
physiotherapist for back pain before he
suggested she go to her doctor.
“He felt it was something more than just a
back problem,” explained Peter.
Despite a lot of tests, including X-rays,
nothing showed up. That’s when her GP
discussed the possibility of cancer and
referred Deeny to an oncologist in Perth.
“Myeloma is so difficult to diagnose and
it’s such a rare disease,” Peter said.
When Deeny was told she had myeloma,
in March 2005, Peter said she lay in
hospital in absolute devastation. This made
it especially difficult for him to leave her,
even for a few hours, to find a cheap pub
to stay in.
“We know now of the tremendous support
that’s available, but at the time we were
floored. We didn’t know what myeloma
was or what was happening,” Peter said.
Deeny O’Shaughnessy with her husband, Peter, and their dog, Millie
Deeny started chemotherapy and this continued
for 12 months before she switched specialists, to a
haematologist, who put her on a different round of
chemo. She also had an MRI which showed a fair bit of
bone destruction.
At the time Deeny was on antidepressants and pain
medication because bone pain was the main problem.
In 2007, during a ‘good spell’ Deeny and Peter went on
a trip to Europe and travelled around Australia.
“Myeloma is a bit of an unknown disease,” said Peter.
“They don’t know what causes it and there is no cure.
Some of the treatment does work for a short time.
“The chemo knocked back the myeloma to the extent
that there was no detection of the cancer, then ‘it’ came
back,” Peter said.
Deeny started stronger chemo – VAD* – but had a
strong reaction to the treatment. It didn’t work and the
bone pain returned in March this year.
“It was unbearably bad,” said Peter. “She was on a very
high morphine dose and ended up back in hospital in
Perth for more radiation treatment.”
Then she started a new treatment, Revlimid, which
Deeny had been taking for four months as The Carer
went to print.
“It’s been marvellous,” Peter said. “The cancer counts
have gone down to 1, so it’s under control again and
Deeny’s quality of life is pretty good.
“Things are good now that the Revlimid is working but
who knows how long that will last – we do know that
the myeloma will return.
“There will be good times and bad times so we’ve made
a conscious decision to take things more slowly, to smell
the flowers and walk on the beach with our little dog,
and every morning we sit in our sunroom, talk, have
coffee, watch the birds in our garden and generally
try to enjoy the good moments. They have become
precious to us.”
The O’Shaughnessys only discovered the Leukaemia
Foundation and its range of support services earlier
this year: “They’ve pointed us in the right direction.
We’ve been to seminars which have provided
information on the disease and the latest treatments,
diet advice and living with pain. It’s pretty useful,
they’re nice people and the support services coordinator at Bunbury, Karen Lewis, sometimes comes
over for a chat.” The Foundation also suggested Deeny
get a dog and Millie, the minature sausage dog she
now owns, is absolutely devoted to her.
* VAD is a combination chemotherapy treatment of
vincristine, adriamycin and dexamethasone.
PAGE 13
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There are so many ways you can give and make great
things happen to support patients and families in your
community who need help.
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You can do your own fundraising, sign up for an event,
join a Friends of the Foundation group, or start one of
your own. Arranging your own fundraising is a brilliant
way to make great things happen. It’s also lots of fun, a
fantastic way to meet new people, extremely rewarding
and easy!
You can fundraise on your own, in a group, at school
or at work. If you already have an idea or would like
some suggestions, please just call our community
relationships team on 1800 620 420 for lots of ideas,
tips and a pack of materials to get you started.
To participate in an event that’s already organised,
visit the ‘Sign up for an event’ section of our website
www.leukaemia.org.au to choose one of the hundreds
of great events being held around the country.
You may prefer to create a Friends of the Foundation
group. These groups are people working together in
the community to support the Foundation through
fundraising (including our major annual campaigns),
volunteering time at selected local events and
promoting the work of the Foundation. The groups may
also respond to requests from the Foundation to provide
practical help to local patients and their families as
needed. Please call us to find out more or to register.
The Leukaemia Foundation has also developed a new
community awareness plan to ensure patients and
families in need know about the range of local services
available to them.
In August, the Leukaemia Foundation in NSW held
a community awareness meeting at Daffodil Cottage
in Bathurst. It was open to patients and their families,
health professionals, local business people and anyone
interested in learning about the Foundation.
The Hilton Hotels and Leukaemia Foundation
partnership in NSW began with a ‘shebang’ when
management and staff at Hilton Sydney held a public
shave during World’s Greatest Shave in March.
Paul Murray’s alter-ego, ‘Dick Aspen, Hollywood
Reporter’ from Triple M’s The Shebang breakfast show
kicked off the day by shaving and interviewing Sydney
Swans AFL player, Spider Everitt.
A lunchtime auction saw the heads shaved of the
Foundation’s CEO, Peter Cox, Hilton Sydney Manager,
Jerome Auvity, and five of his senior managers. Hilton
Sydney continued their support by hosting an Aftershave
Party at the Hilton’s exclusive Zeta Bar for more than
200 shavers from NSW and ACT who had banked more
than $1000 by April 3.
Hilton Sydney staff volunteer their time and resources
PAGE 14
There was a discussion on the impact blood cancers
have on local communities and how these communities
can help make a difference.
Speakers included Dr Rob Lindeman, Haematologist
from Prince of Wales Hospital, Helen Snodgrass,
Leukaemia Foundation Support Services Co-ordinator
for the Central West, and David Giles, Leukaemia
Foundation Planned Giving Manager NSW/ACT.
The extent of what the Foundation does was well
received by the audience and some attendees signed up
to become volunteers.
To help raise awareness in your local community,
contact your local Leukaemia Foundation office today.
From playing golf, challenging your friends to give up
chocolate, participating in a fun run, attending a fashion
auction or having a fancy dress quiz night, there are so
many ways you can enjoy yourselves while at the same
time raising important funds for others in need. Great
things really do happen when Australians give.
in a range of Foundation activities. This has included
time management training for the Foundation’s NSW/
ACT team and use of the hotel’s facilities. They provided
direct support for patients and their families and carers
by building a wooden garden fence at the Foundation’s
Waverton accommodation units in Sydney.
Volunteers manned the merchandise stand at the
Children’s Circus fundraiser in Sydney last month.
Hilton Sydney also is the first non-media company to
enter a team in the annual Harvey Norman Touch Footy
tournament fundraiser, on November 30.
Café Cino, the hotel’s coffee shop, donates 50 cents to
the Foundation from the sale of every muffin, and the
hotel’s health club, Living Well, has offered free yoga,
massage and psychosocial education sessions as part of
the Foundation’s Support Services education program.
For the second year, the Leukaemia
Foundation is the main charity
partner of the 2008 Mark Webber
Pure Tasmania Challenge.
The adventure race is a gruelling
five-day endurance event held on
November 19-23, that involves
trekking, kayaking, mountain biking
and some mystery challenges across
350kms of Tasmania’s spectacular
terrain.
The competitors are a mix of
amateurs, elite athletes and
celebrities. This year Australian
Formula One driver, Mark Webber,
will race alongside Kangaroos AFL
legend, Glenn Archer, and his
former team mate, Leigh Colbert,
Australian Paralympian and world
champion, Michael Milton, two
Papua New Guinean Kokoda Trail
porters who are direct descendants
of the legendary Fuzzy Wuzzy
Angels, and a host of corporate
challengers.
Mark Webber has chosen to support the Leukaemia Foundation again
All participants raise money for the two vital causes
supported by the Mark Webber Challenge Foundation the Leukaemia Foundation’s emergency accommodation
program and the Save the Tassie Devil Appeal.
Fundraising initiatives involving the Challenge are
planned and include personalised email pages for the
competing teams to send to their email contacts; a
community breakfast at the Country Club (Launceston)
in which a mountain bike leg of the Challenge features
as part of the breakfast; and Mark has donated recent
publicity appearance fees to the Foundation.
The Mark Webber Challenge Foundation raises funds to
directly assist those in need and since 2003 Mark has
helped raise more then $1 million for various charities.
The Leukaemia Foundation thanks Mark Webber
and his team for their ongoing support which will
help provide much needed “home away from home”
accommodation for regional patients and their families.
The Leukaemia Foundation’s
General Manger of Trusts and
Foundations, Cathy Bryson,
embarked on a personal challenge
to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in July,
right.
At 6.45am on July 24, in sub-zero
temperatures, and with oxygen at
only 50% of that at sea level, Cathy
achieved her ultimate goal, far right.
She reached the summit along with
all five members of her group - an
incredible feat when only 65% of
those who climb Africa’s highest
mountain actually make it to the
summit.
In conquering this amazing
challenge, Cathy raised more than
$3400 for the Foundation.
PAGE 15
FIRST CELEBRATION OF LIFE IN SA
Emotional support is a key service provided by the
Leukaemia Foundation and this includes remembering
loved ones who have lost their lives to one of the blood
cancers. More than 100 people took part in South
Australia’s first Celebration of Life memorial service, held
at Sunnybrae Function Centre in August. Manager Support
Services SA/NT, Steve Marshall, said the Celebration of Life
service was modelled on similar Leukaemia Foundation
celebrations held in other states. “We continue to support
bereaved families and carers after the loss of their loved
one and ceremonies such as this can help with the grief
process,” Steve said. “Our aim was to provide a quiet
and reflective time for family and friends to remember
and honour the lives of those they have lost and give
them an opportunity to meet others who have had similar
experiences.”
NEW AND
PRE-LOVED
CLOTHES
RAISE $13,000
A New and
Pre-loved
Fashion
Auction at
the Darwin
Turf Club in
July attracted
more than
300 attendees
and raised
Simmone Jarvis, Leukaemia Foundation
$13,000 for
the Leukaemia Community Relationships Manager NT with
former Darwin Lord Mayor, Garry Lambert.
Foundation.
More than 500 good quality items were donated by
Territorians and several boutiques including a stunning
Paspaley white gold pearl necklace, valued at $2000.
Belinda Burkitt, a blood cancer survivor and Darwin Cup
Ladies Day Host, was the guest speaker. The event was
hosted by Ali Burton and Gino Luglietti from Territory
FM radio and the auction items were modelled by local
identities including ABC newsreader, Laetitia Lemke, and
Darwin Cup Carnival Ambassador, Stephanie Lambert.
SUPPORT SERVICES EXPANDS TO GRAMPIANS AND
LODDON REGIONS
Regional and rural patients and their families in all regions
of Victoria are now covered by a support services coordinator, following the opening of the latest office at
Ballarat. The Leukaemia Foundation Victoria/Tasmania has
leased an office in Armstrong Street South, in Ballarat’s
city centre which is the base for a support services coordinator employed to care for patients and their families
living in the Grampians and Loddon regions. From
2003 to 2005, 285 people were diagnosed with a blood
malignancy in this combined region, which indicated
the need for the new position. The Foundation’s team
prides itself on providing seamless care and support for
patients from the regional setting who go to metropolitan
Melbourne treatment centres, then return home.
CORRECTION: Apologies to Michelle O’Sullivan who
was wrongly identified in the bereavement support group
photo on page 15 of the Winter 2008 issue of The Carer.
She was in the back row, second from the right.
PAGE 16
Leukaemia link unravelled: Professor Angel Lopez from
the Hanson Institute in Adelaide, and a member of the
Leukaemia Foundation’s National Medical and Scientific
Advisory committee, co-led a study to map the structural
organisation of a key cell signalling receptor for the
blood system. This receptor is part of a wiring circuit
that controls how blood cells multiply and survive, a
control mechanism that is faulty in leukaemic cells. The
researchers will now begin developing a drug to target
the receptor and treat some forms of blood cancer.
CLL breakthrough: Associate Professor Devinder Gill
from The Princess Alexandra
Hospital in Brisbane and his
research team have made
a significant breakthrough
in understanding chronic
lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).
Following 10 years’ research,
the team has discovered
two new growth factors
which allow CLL cells to
survive for prolonged periods
outside the body (or in the
laboratory). The researchers
will now attempt to develop
a targeted drug to block the
Associate Professor
growth factors which would Devinder Gill
cause the CLL cells to die.
New method to detect CML resistance: U.S. researchers
from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre have
developed a new method for detecting resistance to drug
treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia. By pinpointing
key genetic mutations, the method could allow clinicians
to diagnose resistance significantly earlier than current
strategies, enabling patients to be switched to alternative
treatments.
CONTACT US
Freecall 1800 620 420
(Call will go through to your local office)
Email: [email protected]
Mail: GPO Box 9954 in your capital city
Website: www.leukaemia.org.au
The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national
not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care
and cure of patients and families living with
leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related
blood disorders.
`