“What Cure Leukaemia does is it connects patients for whom standard treatments have failed, and for whom the future is otherwise extremely bleak – they’ll be dead, bluntly, within months – with new treatments that perfectly understandably, the NHS won’t fund until clinical trials have been done to show they work.
“So what Cure Leukaemia does is it bridges that gap. It says, we’ve got patients in great need, there’s incredibly promising drugs, let’s put the two together.
“And so in the last ten years, almost entirely through the Cure Leukaemia-funded initiatives and research nurses – not entirely, there’s a coalition of the willing here – but very substantially through Cure Leukaemia’s really pioneering vision, we have been able to recruit hundreds of patients with end-stage disease to clinical trials, many of whom have benefited from what has become £21m worth of free drug.
“That’s drug that patients wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Patients would have died without seeing that drug. And that drug for many hundreds of our patients has delivered long-term remissions or operational cures.
“It is perverse, it is completely wrong, that drugs are sitting on drug companies’ benches, and patients need those drugs, and that just for the want of some funding for research nurses, the two aren’t coming together.
“This is a very radical, innovative and highly effective model.
“The fact is that we still have many patients for whom conventional treatments for blood cancers, particularly adults, fail – who need access to these drugs. We’re turning down clinical trials because we don’t have enough nurses. And so there’s a great unmet need. The more nurses you fund, the more hope you give, and in the long term the more lives you save.”