Patients and relatives affected by Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) have visited the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) at the John Radcliffe Hospital to find out more about advances in treating the condition.
The members of the Oxford and Thames Valley MDS Patient Support Group visited the WIMM Friday 29 September.
MDS are a group of bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.
The visit was hosted by clinician scientist Dr Lynn Quek (pictured) and members of Prof Paresh Vyas’s research team at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, who are members of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine. Their research is supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
The visit started with a series of short presentations on the research into haematological cancers currently being conducted at the MRC WIMM, including efforts to improve patient care and recent advances in genomics and stem cell biology. This was followed by a lively question and answer session, and a tour of research facilities.
Nurse Kirsty Crozier, who leads the patient group said: “These visits are vital in helping patients and relatives fully understand, feel informed and appreciate where advances come from in relation to their disease, even if they are not yet feeling their direct impact.”
Feedback from the visit was very positive: “The best part for me was undoubtedly the input from Dr Quek and her colleagues, which fascinated both my daughter and me”, said one of the patients “We talked of little else for the rest of the day and still do! The laboratory visit was also most interesting.”
The researchers involved also benefited greatly from this experience, as Dr Quek explained: “Visits such as these are an opportunity for research scientists to exchange ideas with patients and involve them in the process”.