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Cash boost for research into leukaemia

* 11 September 2002 *

Cash boost for research into leukaemia

Scientists from the University of Sussex in Brighton have been awarded £147,000 by the Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF) to look at abnormalities in DNA damage and repair that occur in some leukaemias and lymphomas.

The research team - led by Dr Penny Jeggo at the Genome Damage and Stability Centre - will look at Seckel Syndrome, a rare inherited condition. They have recently discovered that a faulty enzyme in Seckel Syndrome prevents the body repairing damaged DNA. Similar defects in DNA repair have been found to predispose some people to certain forms of leukaemia and lymphoma.

This work will throw light on the way this repair mechanism functions and how, when it goes wrong, it can lead to leukaemia and other immune disorders like Seckel Syndrome.

"This research will provide us with a unique insight into what happens in the cell when DNA is damaged," Dr Jeggo said.

The team believe their findings could make treatments more effective for patients. "Understanding how the damage response mechanisms helps to maintain genetic stability could potentially provide an improved basis for drug targeted treatment," Dr Jeggo said.

Dr David Grant, Scientific Director of the Leukaemia Research Fund, said: "The failure to repair damaged DNA is an apparent problem and understanding the basis for this will have far-reaching benefits. We see Dr Jeggo's work as a way forward to more effective treatments for patients with leukaemia and lymphoma."

* Notes for editors *

Press Office contacts: Peter Simmons or Benedict Brook, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email or

Leukaemia Research Fund is the only national charity devoted exclusively to improving treatments, finding cures and learning how to prevent leukaemia, Hodgkin's disease and other lymphomas, myeloma and the related blood disorders, diagnosed in 21,500 people in Britain every year.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) is an acid contained in chromosomes in the centre of cells of living things. DNA determines the particular structure and functions of every cell and is responsible for characteristics being passed on from parents to their children.

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