Scientists plan personal blood cancer care

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scientists in Yorkshire are launching a project to personalise treatments for people newly-diagnosed with blood cancers.

Samples from patients across Yorkshire will be analysed to identify how differences in cancer cells’ DNA can influence the success of treatment.

Experts from York University, the NHS and cancer diagnostic firm 14M Genomics hope to find patterns to inform doctors and patients of the best treatments for illnesses including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The project is built around the work of researchers at York in the Haematological Malignancy Research Network, funded by the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, who have analysed information from 20,000 patients in the region for the last decade.

Prof Chris Bunce, the charity’s research director, said: “Some patients currently respond extremely well to standard treatment and yet others will become resistant. A database that can help doctors predict how a patient’s cancer will progress will be invaluable in guiding treatment decisions.”

Consultant haematologist Cathy Burton, who heads the Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, which diagnoses cancers, said new technologies offered a “real opportunity” to head to “an ultimate goal of patient-orientated precision medicine”.