North East cancer charity invests £500,000 in pioneering research

Charity, Bright Red, has funded equipment to help aid the accuracy of blood cancer research in the North East

Mark Thompson and Prof Matt Collin with the Flow Cytometer machine
Mark Thompson and Prof Matt Collin with the Flow Cytometer machine

A North East charity has invested £500,000 to ensure pioneering research into blood cancers takes place in the region.

Bright Red, based at Ward 33 of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, has helped fund groundbreaking equipment to aid the accuracy of blood cancer research.

As much as £310,000 was used to purchase a Flow Cytometer machine, which allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood and is able to analyse thousands of individual cells a second. The information the machine provides will be vital to scientists who are studying blood cancers and understand how patients may respond to medications and benefit from particular treatments.

A further £200,000 was then raised through various sources, including Newcastle University, to purchase a Flow Cytomery analysis instrument.

Matt Collin, Bright Red’s trustee and professor of haematology, said: “It has been a 10 year journey for us to get this equipment on site in the medical school.

“Thanks to Bright Red we now have one of the best flow sorters in the country.

“This allows us to separate out and purify different white cells from the blood, including stem cells and leukaemia cells.

“The new machine is faster, more sensitive and safer than anything we have used before.

“The funding from Bright Red will really boost our output of high calibre science. In the recent Research Excellence Framework, our work was rated four-star, the highest rating but we continually need to refine our technology and push boundaries if we are to make contributions that really matter to curing blood cancers and improving the lives of patients.”

Around 30,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer every year in the UK. Blood cancer includes illnesses such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Chairman of Bright Red, Mark Thompson, said: “Bright Red’s goal is to make Newcastle City the safest place to be if you’re unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a blood cancer.

“In order to achieve that we need to not only support patient care and staff education, but we also need to continually invest in the research going on in at our local hospitals and universities.

“Our most recent investment of over £310,000 ensures that the haematology research team at Newcastle University have all the equipment they need to enable them to continue with their progress, helping not only our patients, but patients across the world.

“Newcastle is already one of the safest places to be for blood cancer patients. It’s investment in equipment like this which will help use achieve the ultimate goal of being the safest in the world. We are extremely grateful to all the support from fundraisers and local businesses to help make this investment possible.”

Bright Red is a charity established to improve the lives and treatment of people in the north who are dealing with blood cancer.

Through care, research and education the charity is striving to beat illnesses such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

For more information about the Bright Red charity visit www.brightred.org.uk

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