DFN Foundation donates £1m to Myeloma UK

    • DFN Charitable Foundation donates £1m for myeloma research
    • Former Myeloma UK CEO Eric Low is appointed as Trustee of DFN

  30 May 2017 – The DFN Charitable Foundation, set up by David Forbes-Nixon in 2014, has today announced a £1 million donation to Myeloma UK. The funds will allow the development of advanced genomic and genetic research tools to better characterise, monitor and treat myeloma over time. This news closely follows the appointment of former Myeloma UK CEO Eric Low as Trustee of DFN, with the responsibility of managing and maximising the funds.

The £1 million donation will be provided to Myeloma UK so researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, can conduct genome sequencing of patient samples collected from the pivotal Myeloma XI clinical trial. The donation will also establish the ‘’Jacquelin Forbes-Nixon Research Fellowship’’.

David Forbes-Nixon said:My mother died of myeloma, so it is a cause very close to my heart. She was diagnosed late, having been misdiagnosed for six months and then didn’t respond well to treatment. She passed away within two years of diagnosis, despite being very healthy beforehand, and it broke my heart. Therefore, I am now very driven to support research into finding a cure.

“The Foundation has made a £1 million donation to Myeloma UK that will enable the world class research team at the ICR to apply cutting-edge genomic and genetic research tools to better characterise, monitor and treat myeloma over time, with the goal of optimising treatments and in doing so, taking a crucial step towards its curability.” This donation follows the appointment of former Myeloma UK CEO Eric Low as Trustee of DFN. Eric Low commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining the DFN Foundation as a Trustee. I have a deep admiration for what David has achieved so far and I am excited to have the opportunity to use my experience in myeloma to help maximise the DFN Foundation’s investment in myeloma research, which we hope will deliver substantial benefits for patients.”

Forbes-Nixon commented on Low’s appointment: “I am delighted that Eric has joined the DFN Foundation as a Trustee and I am looking forward to working closely with him to further develop and implement our plans for investment in myeloma research. He brings with him over 20 years of experience in all things myeloma, and has a reputation of getting things done for patients.”

Over the past five years, the ICR has generated one of the largest and most complex myeloma bone marrow collections in the world from patients taking part in the Myeloma XI clinical trial and other Myeloma UK-supported studies. Analysing patient bone marrow samples using the latest technology will help to optimise current and future treatments by better understanding which patients benefit from which treatments and so may help towards the curability of myeloma.

Dr Martin Kaiser, who leads the myeloma research team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “We’re working with sensitive, state of the art genomic analysis tools to better understand the characteristics of myeloma that contribute to treatment resistance and relapse, so we can find better ways to kill the myeloma cells that survive initial treatment. We hope our research will lead to a better quality of life and improved survival for people with myeloma and this new grant is an important investment in achieving our goals.” Simon Ridley, Director of Research of Myeloma UK commented on the donation: ‘We have been proud funders of the Centre for Myeloma Research at the ICR for the past decade. This very generous donation from the DFN Foundation will go a long way to helping us not only achieve our goal of doing Whole Genome Sequencing on up to 2,000 samples but also, through the funding of a research Fellow, get a head start on the analysis of the data that comes back.”

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Notes to Editors About myeloma Myeloma is an incurable, complex and physically debilitating cancer of plasma cells which are found in the bone marrow. Many people live only months after diagnosis, and only 40 percent are alive after five years. Between 5,000 to 6,000 people are diagnosed annually in the UK. New treatments are needed to help extend the length and quality of life for these patients.

About the DFN Charitable Foundation The DFN Charitable Foundation, set up by David Forbes-Nixon in 2014, is focused on investing funds into cutting-edge myeloma research, predominately focused on genomics and genetics as well as the accelerated development of new effective treatments with the potential to cure myeloma.  It is also very active in special needs education and employment, and owns Undershaw which serves as the site for the Upper School of Stepping Stones, a leading SEN school in Hindhead, Surrey.

About The Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations. Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four centres for cancer research and treatment globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it is a world leader at identifying cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

A college of the University of London, the ICR is the UK’s top-ranked academic institution for research quality, and provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public. The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit http://www.icr.ac.uk About Myeloma UK Myeloma UK is the only organisation in the UK dealing exclusively with myeloma whose goal is to find a cure. They work to ensure patients get access to the right treatment at the right time, and offer a range of support and advice services to patients and their family and friends aimed at helping them to deal with a myeloma diagnosis. Myeloma UK receives no government funding and relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and fundraising activities.

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