José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation
JOSEP CARRERAS LEUKAEMIA FOUNDATION

The new publication Unstoppable Against Leukaemia is out now!

This new publication tells the story of the Unstoppable campaign and has all the important news about the IJC and much more too. We hope you enjoy reading it!

If you want to read it in Catalan, click here.

If you want to read it in Spanish, click here.

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Deutsche José Carreras Leukämie-Stiftung, unstoppable against leukaemia

The Annual General Meeting of the Deutsche José Carreras Leukämie-Stiftung, presided by Mr. Josep Carreras, was held on 14 September.

The Foundation has funded more than 1,000 initiatives in support of the fight against leukaemia including 483 research projects, 109 grants, 59 infrastructure creation projects for health care and research,115 other specific awards and 261 social projects.

During September's meeting 30 more initiatives of various kinds were approved with total funding of €8,573,228.

Since the Deutsche José Carreras Leukämie-Stiftung was founded it has contributed more than €150,000,000 towards the fight against leukaemia.

REDMO

REDMO collaborates with South American countries that don't have their own bone marrow donors registry

REDMO and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality have drawn up a framework for assistance to, and collaboration with, South American countries that do not have their own bone marrow donors registry.

The aim of this project is to provide these countries with access to all the donors registered around the world, in other words, to make it possible for them to make a search as if they had their own Registry so they will have a better chance of a successful search. Until now we could only offer a partial search of the REDMO inventory.

To promote this project Dr. Carreras, the REDMO director, took part in the biannual meeting of the Colombian Bone Marrow Transplant Society. The event took place some days ago in the city of Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia and was attended by world experts in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplants. 

Valencia hosts the 57th Spanish Hematology and Hemotherapy Society's (SEHH) National Congress

The SEHH Congress, held on 22 to 24 October in Valencia, was the setting for the announcement of the project for the typification of the genetic variant CCR5 Delta32 in high-quality umbilical cord blood kept in public Spanish blood banks. The project is being funded by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (MSSSI).

Units of umbilical cord blood with this very specific genetic mutation (0.6% of the samples, that is to say 157 units) might be the key for finding a cure for those patients with HIV who also have a blood disease. It is hoped that the use of these units will lead to a cure, not only for the blood disease, but that it will also lead to the disappearance of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) itself. It is with this in mind that the world's first test aimed at eradicating the HIV is being conducted with the use of umbilical cord blood for onco-hematological patients.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Health, the National Transplant Organisation, Spanish umbilical cord blood banks, the Josep Carreras Foundation and four Spanish hospitals: Gregorio Marañón and Puerta del Hierro (Madrid), Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe (Valencia) and Hospital Duran i Reynals (Barcelona).

It should be stressed that these units will continue to be available to all patients and could be used for patients without HIV if they have no other compatible unit available.

The project has been announced internationally during the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) Conference which has been held at the beginning of November in Minnesota and, as happens every year, it has been attended by various members of the REDMO team.

At this year's Congress, 25 pieces of work were presented in the name of the Josep Carreras Institute. These included posters, talks, symposiums, and educational programmes. A very important landmark for the Institute.

JOSEP CARRERAS LEUKAEMIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Dr. Navarro, member of the European Hematology Association (EHA) Curriculum Committee and director of the European Hematology Exam.

The task of the European Hematology Association (EHA) Curriculum Committee is to carry out projects and activities relating to the European Hematology Curriculum. A further task is to advise the EHA in all matters concerning this curriculum. The committee has a director (professor Cheng-Hock Toh) and 6 members.

In the immediate future this committee will establish the lines to be followed by the working groups that are drawing up European exam projects in the field of hematology and bringing the current European curriculum up to date.

The European Hematology exam is one of the projects the EHA is most interested in in the near future. The working group in charge of carrying out the project is chaired by Dr. Navarro and there are six members. The European exam consists of hematology specialists agreeing to a voluntary evaluation whereby they can be awarded a certificate accrediting that their knowledge in the field of hematology meets the standards set by the EHA curriculum. The purpose of this is to foster the harmonisation of European hematology and facilitate professional mobility between the countries of Europe. In effect it is a step forward in the attempt to ensure that European citizens are provided with the same standards of health care regardless of where they live. 

Dr. Petriz to preside the International Relations Committee and member of the European Society for Clinical Cell Analysis (ESCCA)

The European Society for Clinical Cell Analysis (ESCCA) is a scientific society that promotes and fosters education, awareness-raising, standardisation and the implementation of clinical and pre-clinical analysis. It brings together more than 45 of the 51 European countries recognised as such and it organises conferences and courses so that teachers from around the world can meet with the local committees of different countries. It has performed this task every year since 1996. The ESCCA is also involved in quality and knowledge certification programmes in an effort to make progress with applications that enable, for example, more precise diagnosis of blood diseases, such as leukaemia, and through these programmes it should be possible to obtain a greater knowledge of the complexities of these illnesses.

The aim of this appointment is to attract more specialists from our research community and coordinate a European research network to discuss and promote the most recent scientific developments. 

Jordi Ribera awarded a research grant SEHH

Seven research grants were awarded during the 57th Spanish Hematology and Hemotherapy Society's (SEHH) National Congress, held recently in Valencia. The grants are intended to enhance the careers of young researchers at Spanish research centres. Jordi Ribera was awarded a grant for a project entitled "Next-generation sequencing in high-sensitivity flow cytometry for the detection of residual disease in adult and infantile acute lymphoblastic leukaemia". The aim of the acute lymphoblastic leukaemia research group with this project is to analyse the applicability and predictive value of next generation sequencing (NGS) in comparison with the methods currently used in monitoring minimal residual disease (MRD) for this cancer. The idea for this comes from the need to improve current methods of MRD detection since it has been demonstrated that, despite being the variable with the greatest prognostic impact for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the MRD determined using current methods is not 100% predictive of the disease's evolution. Thus, for approximately 30% of patients with negative MRD (with one tumorous cell in 10,000 healthy ones, and therefore theoretically free of the disease), there is a recurrence of the disease.

The aim is to determine if this new, more sensitive and informative technique (NGS) is capable of predicting the evolution of this disease more exactly. If so, doctors will have more trustworthy and reliable data available to them, the better to treat patients who might suffer a recurrence of the disease and to do so with greater precision, safety and anticipation. 

Leukos Biotech, a spin-off established by Dr. Ruth Risueño and the IJC to develop a new treatment for acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML) is now working

Dr. Ruth Risueño and her team have identified the potential of apomorphine, a medicine that is known and marketed for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which might be effective as a new treatment for the cure of AML.

The group has discovered that treatment with apomorphine has an anti-leukaemia effect on the cells of patients with ex vivo AML. Furthermore, treatment with apomorphine of mice carrying human leukaemia leads to the elimination of the capacity for regeneration of the leukaemia in vivo. The amount of drug used corresponds to that approved for use in humans. In fact, the treatment of both ex vivo and in vivo healthy blood samples does not affect its efficaciousness nor its endurance.

Don't miss this video in which Dr. Risueño herself explains the project:  https://youtu.be/vCnnN6B6VGg

SOLIDARITY

An 'Unstoppable' dinner for the fight against leukaemia

On 3 October we attended a fund-raising diner organised by three very special people: Alfonso, Edu and Eduardo.

Two years ago, Alfonso, a patient for non-Hodgkin anaplastic lymphoma, underwent a bone marrow transplant from a non-related donor who had been located by our Foundation, and since then has continued to be unstoppable in his fight against the disease.

His brother Edu couldn't be his compatible donor but both he and his friend Eduardo (the owner of the Bare Nostrum where the dinner took place) decided to become bone marrow donors after Alfons was given his diagnosis.

All three have collaborated with us in previous years and on this occasion they organised a cocktail dinner, the funds raised from which went entirely to our Foundation. The event raised €2,000! We also had the opportunity to explain the work done by our Foundation and the IJC and we were also treated to a performance by a solo artist.

Caravaca Trail Experience, much more than a sporting event

The Caravaca Trail Experience, a sporting event organised by Caravaca de la Cruz, was held on 25 October. The aim was for this BBT and running event to combine sport with an awareness-raising campaign about the importance of bone marrow donation, while also being a fund-raising event for our Foundation.

Although it proved to be a rainy day nothing deterred the 665 participants and thanks to them €2,520 was raised via the Migranodearena crowdfunding platform.

The runners of Balsameda

The town council, the Casa de la Mujer and the Social Action Council of Balsameda organised their first running event in the fight against leukaemia. It was a marvellous success with 750 people taking part and €2,735 being raised!

The funds raised came from inscriptions and the voluntary donations of the citizens of Balsameda. Those who enrolled for the race were given a yellow backpack with our Foundation's logo on it, and the great wave of unstoppable runners against leukaemia made a splendid sight.