A year ago today, Cure Leukaemia announced its national expansion plans by investing £3,000,000 in 12 blood cancer centres across the UK to form the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP). TAP is a network of UK NHS hospitals, linked by Cure Leukaemia-funded Research Nurses, and co-ordinated through the central Hub at the Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) at The University of Birmingham. TAP enables rapid setup, recruitment and assessment of pioneering clinical trials for patients with all forms of blood cancer.
Cure Leukaemia’s funding of the TAP, which began in January 2020, has enabled a new clinical study to be launched named PACE which examines the impact of infections, with a focus on COVID-19, on patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). PACE, led by Professor Simon Stanworth of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, was setup in under 1 month thanks to the TAP’s infrastructure and is already running at 18 sites across the country with a further 16 expected to open in the coming weeks.
The rapid setup, patient recruitment and assessment of this study has only been possible thanks to the TAP’s research nurse network and Hub highlighting the vital importance of support for Cure Leukaemia to ensure this and future trials and studies can be delivered to benefit blood cancer patients across the UK.
Cure Leukaemia announced its funding of the TAP on June 11th 2019, at an event held at KPMG’s offices in Birmingham which was attended by Mayor for the West Midlands Andy Street CBE and other influential business leaders from the Midlands region. The theme of the event and the campaign which led up to it focussed on Cure Leukaemia urging businesses to help ‘Put Us Out Of Business’ a striking call-to-action alluding to the charity’s aim to no longer be required once effective treatments for all forms of blood cancer have been found.
Speaking about the opening of the PACE study, Mayor Andy Street said:
“The opening of this important study emphasises the vital need for clinical networks like the Cure Leukaemia funded TAP.
We are proud that a charity, which has its roots in the Midlands, is helping to make a national impact on the COVID-19 crisis and it is important that we ensure that charities like Cure Leukaemia continue to receive funding to sustain this impact going forward.”
Professor Simon Stanworth said:
“I am honoured to be working with so many colleagues in the leukaemia community on this clinical study termed PACE. This remains a very worrying time for many of us as we try to grapple with the full consequences of COVID-19 infection in our patients. The study will help us better understand the problems of infections both in patients developing AML, both with and without COVID-19 infection, to improve our knowledge base, develop practical recommendations for clinical teams and as a prelude to research in the future.”
The Trials Acceleration Programme, funded by Cure Leukaemia, has provided the infrastructure to open and recruit patients to this study in under 1 month and it will also enable the accelerated assessment of these patients in the coming weeks and months. It is essential that programmes like the TAP remain funded to allow PACE, future studies and pioneering clinical trials to open and run to benefit blood cancer patients across the UK.”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said:
“A year ago we announced how Cure Leukaemia will be making a national impact by funding 12 blood cancer centres across the UK. Now, during these unprecedented times, we have seen how the TAP has facilitated the opening of this important COVID-19 study at hospitals outside the network highlighting the importance of the infrastructure it offers to the UK’s medical community.
“We are proud to be making a direct impact on the UK’s efforts to combat COVID-19 but it remains crucial that we can continue to providing the infrastructure for these studies and clinical trials to run and we cannot do that without the continued support of businesses and fundraisers across the country.”
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