Professor Paul Moss, Head of School of Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham "Worldwide, 10 million people every year are diagnosed with cancer"
The University of Birmingham's cancer research teams specialise in various types of cancer, including blood and lymph cancers. In sub-Saharan Africa, Burkitts Lymphoma (a type of lymph cancer) is prevalent among children, accounting for more than 50% of all childhood cancer in the area.
This extremely aggressive cancer doubles in size every few days, and is 50 times more common in Africa than it is in the UK. While the cure rate in developed countries is greater than 90%, lower income countries have neither the drugs, nor the supportive care to cope with the toxicity of the cancer treatments currently needed to treat this disease.
At the University of Birmingham, a team of highly skilled researchers have identified another way of treating Burkitts Lymphoma using a combination of drugs which have been found to have little or no toxicity but a substantial impact on the progression of this cancer.
This treatment has now been tested in 20 children with Burkitts Lymphoma, with amazing results. In 100% of these children, the disease growth was halted within a week, and in 65%, the disease began to regress.
To progress this research, we now need to run a comprehensive programme of clinical trials. We have six centres committed to running trials in Cameroon, Malawi and Ghana.
Each centre will run for three years, reaching a total of 540 children. It costs just £500, or £12 a month, to send a child through these vital trials.
This research will have wide reaching impact in the following areas:
In Africa: This treatment has the potential to revolutionise the way in which Burkitt's Lymphoma is treated in Sub-Saharan Africa, curing more children and giving them a far greater quality of life while having the treatment. In the short term, the treatment will benefit children for whom chemotherapy has failed, but in the long term, this treatment could replace chemotherapy completely.
In society: While much of this research is focused on developing countries, increasing our knowledge in the treatment of blood cancers can only benefit those who live with this condition in the UK.
At the University of Birmingham: This research will add to the already rich base of blood cancer research, adding another tool to the armoury of University researchers and clinicians.
With your support we can save more lives.
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Image courtesy of Michiel Van Balen, some rights reserved