The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, so this month we are celebrating women with or affected by blood cancer and chatting about issues that affect them. To kick off the month, our Advocacy Officer, Charlotte, introduces some of the members of our Medical Advisory Panel and highlights their important contributions to the care of blood cancer patients in the UK and beyond.
What is the Medical Advisory Panel?
It is common for healthcare charities to have a list of experts that assist them, in the form of a Medical Advisory Panel. At Leukaemia Care, we feel it is important that all our work is built on their expertise in treating patients. We also recognise that patients with different types of blood cancer have different experiences, so we have a number of panels focussing on a range of specific blood cancer types.
Here is a selection of our female panel members, with some detail of their contributions to both the fields of haematology and the work of Leukaemia Care.
Professor Jane Apperley – Chair of the Centre for Haematology at Imperial College London, Clinical Director of Haematology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Professor Apperley is a member of our chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) medical advisory panel. In addition to a large clinical practice caring for patients with CML and MPN, she has a long-standing clinical research career, having published more than 400 research papers. Her group has been involved in almost all the important trials in developing tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in CML, and Professor Apperley has been the principal investigator in the UK for many of these studies.
In December 2018, she chaired, and spoke at, the CML educational session at the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Professor Apperley has also published and spoken widely about pregnancy in CML patients. TKIs are usually taken for life but cannot be taken during pregnancy. Treatment-free remission (TFR), where patients stop their medication to see if they can remain in remission, is currently being explored in clinical trials. However, an expectant mother with CML must have a period off treatment and so this is a population where TFR must be explored more quickly. Professor Apperley has published extensively about managing CML and pregnancy and spoke on the topic at the CML Horizons conference in 2018. You can hear footage from that conference on our website here.
She has a long-standing interest in stem cell transplantation and has served as the elected President of the British and European Blood and Marrow Transplant Societies. She is also currently the scientific co-chair of the International Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Meeting in the USA.
Professor Anna Schuh – Chair of the NCRI CLL subgroup, Director of Molecular Diagnostics and Consultant Haematologist, University of Oxford
Professor Schuh is a member of our chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) medical advisory panel. Her main research interest is CLL, especially Richter’s syndrome, a rare transformation of CLL.
Overall, Professor Schuh has published over 80 research papers, whilst also seeing patients in clinic. At the Molecular Diagnostics Centre, she focuses on next generation sequencing (NGS), looking for markers within the genome of patients that might be useful in predicting the course of their CLL. Professor Schuh is also heavily involved in clinical trials, acting as either a lead or principal investigator on trials of various stages.
Professor Schuh chairs the UK CLL forum, a group which was set up in 2000. Its intentions are to allow the exchange of information between scientists and those treating directly. This happens through annual scientific days and other meetings, which Leukaemia Care often also attend in order to provide clinicians with information on how we can support their patients.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our panel members for their contribution to our work as a charity and to the field of haematology.