Local girl’s cancer fight features in inspirational TV documentary

June 17, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
A Whitehill schoolgirl who is recovering from leukaemia after being part of a groundbreaking new treatment trial developed by Leukaemia Research, is to be featured in a new BBC documentary about children going through cancer treatment.

Charlotte Adams, 15, and a student at Eggers School, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) on 10 January 2006 and immediately began treatment. Charlotte had begun a promising acting career and had appeared in musicals and TV show Doctors. This had to be put on hold as she began chemotherapy at Southampton General Hospital.

She agreed to participate in the groundbreaking minimal residual disease (MRD) trial, developed by Leukaemia Research, and received a new test to detect how much leukaemia is left in the body after each course of treatment. This helped doctors decide what appropriate dose of treatment was necessary for the next phase, so as to increase chances of cure and minimise side effects. After the test it became clear that Charlotte would require a bone marrow transplant.

Charlotte’s mum Julie said: “It was such a shock for all the family when we got the news that Charlotte had leukaemia. A rare genetic abnormality meant the outlook was even worse, but Charlotte was happy to be part of the new trial. After her first round of chemotherapy we were told that a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor was the only chance Charlotte had of long-term survival.

“Thankfully, the transplant last July was a big success as the donor bone marrow, from a German donor, was a good match. Charlotte is now back at school doing work experience and is picking up her acting where she left off.”

BBC cameras followed Charlotte through treatment as part of a new documentary series ‘Children Fighting Cancer’. Charlotte appears in the first of the series, which is aired on Tuesday 12 June.

Charlotte said: “As I am hoping to be an actress, having the cameras around when I was in hospital and recovering from treatment wasn’t such a problem. Some days, though, when I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t feel so comfortable in the spotlight, but I realise that by telling my story I can help others.”

Children Fighting Cancer begins on BBC1 on Tuesday 12 June at 10.35pm.

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7 June 2007

For further information, please contact Gary Hartley at Leukaemia Research Press Office on 020 7269 9019.

Notes for Editors:
1. The idea of the MRD test was initiated by Dr Nick Goulden and the late Professor Tony Oakhill 20 years ago. Leukaemia Research has supported it with investment from the beginning. The original research was carried out in Bristol University; it has now
progressed to hospitals throughout the UK. The first clinical trial in the UK to
include the MRD test began in 2003. Every year samples from over 400 children at hospitals throughout the UK are analysed at four specialist centres in Bristol, Sheffield, Glasgow and London. The trial will finish in 2009 but is already showing promising results. Each test costs just £600.

2. Children Fighting Cancer, produced by Mentorn, was made in association with Leukaemia Research over a period of two years and features nine children at various stages in treatment for leukaemia – diagnosis, chemotherapy and transplants, remission and relapse. The four documentaries follow the children and their families as they progress through treatment, and try and maintain their normal lives. The personal stories are interwoven with explanations about the groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs that are generating hope for the future.

3. Over the next five years, Leukaemia Research urgently needs to raise over £100million to commit to new research. From basic laboratory research to clinical trials with patients, Leukaemia Research is committed to saving lives by funding high quality, carefully selected research throughout the UK.

4. Leukaemia Research is the only national charity devoted exclusively to improving treatments, finding cures and learning how to prevent leukaemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma and other lymphomas, myeloma and the related blood disorders, diagnosed in 24,500 people in the UK every year. Further information, including patient information booklets, is available from www.lrf.org.uk or call 020 7405 0101