Celebrating 10 years of the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Research Unit (LBCRU)
This year, we’re pleased to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Research Unit (LBCRU), a leading haematology research unit in the Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences in Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland.
The LBCRU was first opened in 2013, as a collaboration between LBC and Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland to support innovative blood cancer research to improve patient outcomes.
The University of Marburg’s Professor Stefan Bohlander joined Dr Peter Browett, Professor of Pathology at Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland and Leukaemia & Blood Cancer (LBC) Medical Director as co-directors of the LBCRU – positions that they still hold today.
LBC has now contributed over $3 million toward the LBCRU’s research on a highly personalised approach to blood cancer treatment – finding specific genetic mutations in a patient’s blood cancer that would result in improved treatments and outcomes for that patient. LBC has continued funding toward the LBCRU every year and the unit has continued to make great progress and strides.
In 2019, blood cancer patients had only 3 genes out of a total of 22,000 routinely tested at Auckland City Hospital, and about 50-60% had to be treated the same way. But by 2023, thanks in part to the LBCRU, blood cancer patients can now have 111 genes tested. Leukaemia cells of every single acute myeloid leukaemia patient are now analysed at Auckland City Hospital. No two patients have been found with the same pattern of mutation.
In about 20% of cases, clinicians have changed their treatment approach for AML patients as a result – sometimes avoiding the need for a stem cell transplant. These tests are now being made available throughout New Zealand. We look forward to what the next decade will bring and the potential for further advances in personalised haematology research.