Six months gone

Today, Friday 18th September, is 26 weeks – or six months – since I “Shaved for a Cure”. Wow.

I can still remember how it felt….it was a strange experience and good at the same time. And look: then and now.

 Hair

Just this week there was a story showing just how some of that money is being used, beyond the day-to-day practicalities. It gave me a good feeling.

[Text copied from email I received:]

Exciting news today! Leukaemia Foundation supporters have aided a world-first double discovery to defeat one of the most aggressive forms of blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia.

Leading Australian researcher, Associate Professor Mark Dawson, and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre team in Melbourne, have uncovered vital new leads on how to outsmart the deadly disease based on how acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) fights back against treatments.

Two discoveries have been announced today – both aided by the Leukaemia Foundation’s National Research Program.

Discovery 1 – AML cells grown in a laboratory dish

This research team is the first in the world to have successfully grown and maintained AML cells in a laboratory dish. This gives us unprecedented access and insight into how they work, so we can find new, faster, and better ways to target and destroy them.

Discovery 2 – New understanding of how AML grows resistant to chemotherapy

AML stem cells are particularly aggressive and most people with this disease will become resistant to therapy over time. Sadly on average, only 25% of people with AML will live for five years.

Until now, we have not known why AML stem cells became resistant. This research has uncovered how the cells respond when under attack by chemotherapy, which means researchers can propose new treatments to effectively ‘turn-off’ cancerous genes in AML.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s Head of Research & Advocacy, Dr Anna Williamson, said it was exciting to see another example of the Foundation’s support of “very talented researchers with great ideas” delivering important new knowledge.

“Each year, around 900 people in Australia will be diagnosed with AML,” she said. “This double discovery is a game changer. This advance in our understanding of leukaemia stems cells is opening the doors to new treatment approaches not just for AML, but other types of leukaemia and blood cancers more generally.”

“As the Leukaemia Foundation receives no ongoing government funding, we thank all of our generous supporters who enable us to continue supporting this and other ground-breaking blood cancer research.

To read the full research story and our response, click here to visit our website.

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