Castledawson graduate funded for leukaemia research

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A CASTLEDAWSON woman will help contribute to leukaemia research after gaining support from the Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund (NILF).

The 21-year-old graduated in July 2011 with a first class honours degree from Queen’s University, Belfast in biomedical science and has now started on a further research study programme based at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) in Belfast.

Christine is being part-funded for her studies to gain a PhD by the Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund (NILRF).

The studentship support is in addition of a five-year research package announced in 2010 by the NILRF for over £350,000 for the leukaemia research team, led by Professor Ken Mills. Professor Mills said: “without the support of the NILRF we would not be able to progress as fast as we had hoped towards a better understanding of leukaemia and develop new therapies.”

Christine said that she hopes to develop a career in cancer research and says the programme will help achieve her goal.

“I’m very excited to be undertaking this research and very grateful for support that the NILRF have provided,” she said.

“In my final year of studying Biomedical Science, I undertook a research project within the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) and it was this that pushed me towards applying for a Cancer research PhD.

“As I find this area of research extremely interesting I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to both further my understanding of the research area and be able to contribute to the work already carried out by the research team in Queen’s.

Christine will be supervised by Professor Ken Mills and Dr Alex Thompson during her research programme and will examine new and innovative therapies for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). In acute leukaemia (AML or ALL), the bone marrow cells cannot mature properly. Immature leukaemia cells continue to reproduce and build up. Without treatment, most patients with acute leukaemia would live only a few months. Some types of acute leukaemia respond well to treatment, and many patients can be cured, however other types of acute leukaemia have a less favourable outlook.

The research project that Christine is undertaking requires a financial commitment from the NILRF, who are proud that all the money raised in Northern Ireland support leukaemia research in Northern Ireland. NILRF Chairman, Mr Bill Pollock, said “the NILRF is pleased to support Christine Logan in her research study programme. I am confident that under the leadership of Professor Ken Mills, Christine’s research will greatly assist in increasing our knowledge of leukaemia and a progression towards new treatments”.

For further information on the activities supported by the NILRF or how you can help the NILRF, please contact the team on 028 9097 2928, email admin@leukaemia-ni.org or visit the website at www.leukaemia-ni.org.