BREAKTHROUGH DISCOVERY FOR LEUKAEMIA BUSTERS’ SCIENTISTS
Rothmans client, Leukaemia Busters, is a charity based at Southampton General Hospital, formed by parents with children undergoing treatment for leukaemia and lymphoma in the 1980s.
The research that the charity supports is directed at the development of new and improved, targeted treatments for patients with currently incurable forms of leukaemia.
The novel therapies that are being devised for this group of patients are designed to be safer and more effective. It is hoped that in the future these will completely replace the harsh, potentially dangerous chemotherapies that constitute today’s current treatments.
The flagship laboratory of Leukaemia Busters, The Simon Flavell Leukaemia Research Laboratory, founded in 1991 was built and equipped largely with money raised by the charity along the South Coast.
The important work undertaken in this laboratory has, over the years, led to the development of new antibody drugs, as well as three separate clinical trials to evaluate these new drugs in patients.
The charity funds the conduct of translational type research that is designed to find ways of improving the therapeutic activity of antibody-based drugs for leukaemia and lymphoma.
Leukaemia Busters have devised many ways of achieving this over the years but a recent discovery has provided renewed hope for leukaemia sufferers.
The charity’s scientists, in collaboration with scientists in Berlin, have shown that molecules called saponins from the plant, gypsophila, can increase the potency of a class of antibody drug called immunotoxins by over a million times.
The charity is now actively pursuing this exciting discovery with the intention of turning it into a treatment for patients.
Leukaemia Busters ongoing collaboration with Italian scientists in Milan, Verona and L’Aquila has also led to the creation of the next generation of genetically engineered drugs. These are currently being prepared to be taken forward for clinical development.
Dr David Flavell, the charity’s scientific director, is very grateful for the support Rothmans have given to the charity over the years.
He said: "Rothmans has helped us immeasurably over the past seventeen years by providing the charity with the highest quality accounting and financial advice and in preparing the charity’s end of year accounts. Their contribution and support has been absolutely invaluable".