Haematology Research

Dr Robert Dalton a consultant haematologist at Cheltenham General hospital was a dynamic and innovative person who was always coming up with new ideas and goals. One of his dreams was to have research facilities within the expanding haematology department. He felt this would be essential if Cheltenham were to continue being a training centre for haematology registrars. Bob’s theory was that with an increased kudos, high quality staff would want to work there, which in turn meant patients would receive the best possible treatment. It was a great blow to everyone who knew him and to the patients that had benefited from his amazing ways, when at just 49 years old Bob passed away from cancer.

What better way could LINC honour him, than to set up a research post in his name –‘The Robert Dalton Research Fellow’. This would be for a post graduate student studying for either an MSc or PhD in a blood cancer related subject, in conjunction with Cranfield University. A £1 million appeal was launched in 2005 in the hope that the capital from this appeal would be invested so that the interest would fund this research post for many years to come.

The first appointment was made in October 2005 it was awarded to Jaspreet Babrah, A graduate studying for a PhD and doing research into Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia. Jaspreet is working on a completely new technique to develop an instrument that will recognise abnormal cells in the blood. If successful it would be an addition to the tests already carried out and may prove helpful in detecting early relapses of leukaemia and lymphoma as well as in diagnosis. Jaspreet was immediately recognised as an impressive student and has already had work presented at national and international level!

The second appointment was awarded to Olivia Heenan, who tells us a little about herself and why she was so interested in this project.

"I studied Medical Biochemistry at Swansea University and graduated in 2009 with a 2.1. My degree highlighted the processes that occur in many diseases, including many cancers, and the effects that these diseases have on people. Part of the research I did in my final year looked into the effects an anti-cancer drug has on the body, which fuelled my interest in a career in medical research. I discovered the Robert Dalton Research Fellowship whilst looking for PhD projects in the field of cancer. The project sponsored by the LINC entitled ‘Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Raman Spectroscopy for the Advanced Diagnosis of Leukaemias and Lymphomas’ immediately appealed to me.

"Since starting the PhD in Gloucester I have thoroughly enjoyed researching leukaemias and lymphomas and discovering the improvements that need to be made in their diagnosis. I am very excited at being able to get involved not just in cancer research but in a charity that is so highly devoted and motivated to such a great cause."

We feel that being able to support such a post in the future is extremely important. It means that senior medical staff working with blood cancer patients keep abreast of the latest developments in the world of blood cancers – which of course can only be beneficial to the patients. And who knows…..one of the Robert Dalton Research Fellows may make a discovery that will change the whole course of leukaemia and lymphoma.

Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund