The Alex Hulme Foundation was formed on 12th October 2011 by Alex's Mum and Dad, Nicola and Dave Hulme along with Alex's Auntie, Brenda Jackson. Through donations made to the Alex Hulme Foundation donors will be helping towards improving the research into and the treatment of this dreadful disease and thus providing diagnosed children with a better prognosis for the future.
Many children survive this disease, over 80 per cent, but unfortunately Alex wasn't one of them so there is still a long way to go before we reach the target of a one hundred per cent survival rate.
In April 2012 the Alex Hulme Foundation was proud and delighted to announce an agreed collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Turner, the only Paediatric Lymphoma Researcher in the UK.
Phase one of the research project is expected to take up to five years therefore we wish to raise £200,000 for research and £50,000 for equipment, making an initial target of £250,000 by 2017. By raising this amount, we will ensure we are able to help Dr Turner make a massive difference for diagnosed children in the future.
Through funds raised so far, the Foundation has been able to purchase vital research equipment and fund a PhD studentship at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Suzanne Turner
UKs only Paediatric Lymphoma Researcher Joins the Team!
In April 2012 the Alex Hulme Foundation was proud and delighted to announce an agreed collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Turner, the only Paediatric Lymphoma Researcher in the UK. It soon became apparent that our hopes were mirrored by Dr. Turner and that there were immediate steps that, with the help of donated funds from the Foundation can be put into place to allow Dr. Turner to set up and develop a pioneering research project to investigate B-Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. The work will focus on the causes and the treatments needed to provide children with not only more individualised treatment protocols but most importantly a better outcome in life. We were proud to announce that on 22nd June 2102 the Foundation made its first payment to Dr. Turner to allow our reasearch project to commence. This was a thrilling and emotional day for everyone and the realisation that we can now all say that we were making a difference.
The first stage of the research project was expected to take up to five years and was expected to cost a minimum of £250,000. By raising this amount, we would ensure we are able to help Dr Turner make a massive difference for diagnosed children in the future. The end of year accounts indicated the amount raised in the first two years incredible £125,000. The research project allows us to provide tangible evidence of how donations will be spent, and we will be providing regular updates.
In October 2013 the Foundation funded a small stipend to allow Dr Turner to take on Jackie Waller, an undergraduate degree student, as a full time assistant. Jackie worked within the Turner lab for a year carrying out research to identify the cancer stem cells within B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Jackie made great strides forwards during her time at the lab and identified the ‘Queen bees’ in childhood B-NHL, importantly Jackie established the techniques to look for them and so when our first patient samples arrived at the lab we were well equipped to process them. This was not an easy task but Jackie succeeded where others may have failed and this was due to her great diligence and natural aptitude for lab work.
We were of course sad to see Jackie leave us but at the same time pleased that someone new was coming to continue her excellent work. We recruited a fantastic candidate for the first Alex Hulme Foundation PhD studentship - Sorcha Forde. Sorcha came to us having gained experience in labs in both the USA and Ireland. Our second PhD student was Jamie Matthews, who joined the team in October 2017.
Further updates on how our students are getting on and how the research programme is progessing will be posted behind the "Updates" tab.
Pioneering Research Project
Summary - Paediatric B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (B-NHL) is currently treated with a combination of toxic chemotherapies and at present the event free survival stands at ~75%. This statistic shows that unfortunately some children still suffer devastating disease relapse and we believe that this is because in many cases current treatment fails to kill the source of the tumour. This research will identify the source of the tumour, the cancer stem cell which gives rise to the bulk population and is presumed to exist in a protected niche. Furthermore, this project will address the weak points of these cells that might be exploited therapeutically.
1. What is the identity of cancer stem cells (CSC) in paediatric B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (B-NHL)?
2. Are these cells spared following standard chemotherapy?
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY
Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
Tel: 01223 762655
Vital Research Equipment
The next step was to fund the purchase of vital equipment that was more expensive to buy than grants would allow and equipment that was previously borrowed from other labs at considerable time and expense. By Christmas 2013 we had paid £27,000 to buy a Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter (FACS) - Accuri C6 flow cytometer and £15,111 to purchase a Bioruptor Sonication Device.
Bioruptor Sonication Device
Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter (FACS)
Accuri C6 flow cytometer
PhD Studentship Award
In 2013 we put in place arrangements to fund an Alex Hulme Foundation PhD Studentship Award. Being able to provide such an award is considered to be a very prestigious step forward in the world of scientific research so would attract the very highest calibre of student. The PhD student would be tasked with providing significant results for B-Cell NHL and it’s pathogenesis with those results feeding back into future trials and directly into clinic to treat patients. The student would be registered at the University of Cambridge and the Foundation would pay for the student’s fees and stipend for a three year PhD studentship. An additional fourth year could be awarded, generally in year three. The other requirement of us would be to meet consumable costs for three years as the student would be writing up their thesis in the fourth year of the PhD.
As Trustees we considered the costs of approximately £160,000 for the four year course fit with our fundraising targets.
We were pleased to announce that the Alex Hulme Foundation awarded the first PhD studentship to Sorcha Forde in 2013. Sorcha was followed by Jamie Matthews who was awarded the second PhD Studentship award in 2017. Jamie would go on to spend his first year working alongside Sorcha until she gradulated in 2018. Jamie would then work towards attaining his own PhD in 2022.
Jamie Matthews, Sorcha Forde & Dr. Suzanne Turner
Visit to the Lab!
We always enjoy a trip to the lab to meet Suzanne and the team and to hear all about the latest findings.
The lab is based in the Pathology Department at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge