The new 7-year research collaboration with Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Janssen) will study patients at higher risk of developing certain types of blood cancers that arise from the immune system, such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and multiple myeloma, to identify markers that could be used to predict who will go on to develop symptomatic disease.
The programme, led by Professor Anna Schuh, Department of Oncology, will recruit 1650 participants from across the UK with abnormal immune tests who are otherwise completely healthy. Researchers will examine blood and bone marrow samples and perform scans on the patients to study genetic and immune markers, and track patients over the lifetime of the programme to identify those who go on to develop leukaemia or myeloma.
About 10% of people over 70 years old will have a “pre-malignant” change in their immune system. However, of these, only 1% per year will go onto develop cancer that requires treatment. By studying these conditions in more detail, the research alliance aims to identify the specific make-up in the DNA and the immune system of people who go on to develop cancer.