The Minister for Public Health and Innovation, Nicola Blackwood MP, visited the Anthony Nolan Laboratories and Research Institute in Hampstead, West London yesterday to learn more about the charity’s pioneering work to save and improve the lives of people with blood cancer.
Nicola Blackwood MP was welcomed with a tour of Anthony Nolan’s world-leading laboratories, including a demonstration of its Third Generation Sequencing technology. Last year Anthony Nolan became the first stem cell register in the world to use Third Generation Sequencing to tissue-type genetic samples, allowing the charity to match donors and patients more accurately than ever before.
Professor Steven Marsh, Nicola Blackwood MP, Patient Ambassador Emma Paine, Chief Executive Henny Braund, and Laboratory Director Katy Latham in the lab
The Minister met Anthony Nolan’s Chief Executive, Henny Braund; Dr Katy Latham, Laboratory Director, and Professor Steven Marsh, Director of Bioinformatics and Deputy Director of Research, and took part in a discussion about the challenges facing transplant research, including the need for more clinical trials.
Nicola Blackwood MP and Henny Braund hear from Laboratory Director Katy Latham on Third Generation Sequencing
She also met double stem cell transplant recipient and Patient Ambassador Emma Paine, 28, from Peterborough, who shared the story of her diagnosis and treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome. Emma said, ‘Without the work of Anthony Nolan I would not have found the two donors who saved my life. It was great to meet Nicola and talk about the impact research is having on the effectiveness of transplants. Twelve years ago an unrelated transplant was considered far too risky for me, now thanks to new gene sequencing they can find better matches and my second transplant is so far proving to be a great success!’
Nicola Blackwood MP said: Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation said: ‘Anthony Nolan has been at the forefront of innovation and life-changing treatment for a long time.
‘But they aren't standing still: they continue to innovate to help patients across the country, and to change the research landscape.
‘It was fantastic to see their research institute in action today, and I’m excited to see what they do next.’
Anthony Nolan’s Chief Executive Henny Braund said: ‘We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Public Health and Innovation, Nicola Blackwood MP, to the Anthony Nolan Laboratories and Research Institute.
‘Saving lives has been the bedrock of Anthony Nolan’s work for more than four decades, and we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far, including building a register of more than 620,000 potential donors.
‘We were glad to have the opportunity to highlight the important work that medical research charities like Anthony Nolan carry out, and share our ambitious aims for the next ten years to improve transplant survival rates and reduce post-transplant complications.’
Anthony Nolan was the world’s first stem cell register when it was founded more than forty years ago. In August the charity launched its first research strategy, aiming to improve survival rates for transplant recipients and reduce post-transplant complications by 2025. The Anthony Nolan Laboratories and Research Institute help to facilitate transplants for more than 1,200 blood cancer and blood disorder patients every year.
If you’re aged 16-30, join the Anthony Nolan register at https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways or make a donation to our lifesaving work.