Centre for Haematology
The Centre for Haematology is a dynamic grouping where academic investigators work closely with their clinical counterparts to deliver basic, translational and clinical research programmes encompassing all aspects of haematology.
There are five broad research groupings comprising
- Haemostasis and thrombosis
- Inherited and acquired disorders of haemopoiesis
- Gene targeting
- Transplantation and cellular therapy
The Centre contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education within the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine and also runs several popular external educational events, including disease-based preceptorships, the long-established ‘Advances in Haematology’, one-day workshops in haemostasis and the renowned St Mary’s Short Courses in morphology, haematopathology and haemoglobinopathies.
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The Academic Centre for Haematology is fully integrated with our NHS departments of Clinical and Laboratory Haematology within the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Haematology forms one of the themes of the Biomedical Research Centre, and our goals of clinical excellence and translational medicine are aligned with those of the Academic Health Science Centre. The Haematology Clinical Trials Unit oversees the conduct of more than 30 studies in both malignant and non-malignant diseases.
Molecular Diagnostic laboratory
The Centre for Haematology has also extensively contributed to the establishment of the Imperial Molecular pathology laboratory which is situated at the Hammersmith Hospital Campus. The laboratory provides molecular testing for a wide range of haematological malignancies and solid tumours. Tests for quantitative measurement of residual disease for chronic myeloid leukaemia (BCR-ABL1 quantification) and a variety of recurrent fusion genes in acute lymphoid and myeloid leukaemia. These are measured using real time PCR in a state-of-the art newly establish laboratory with several 7900HT and 3500 Life technology equipment, including also touch down PCR and at least 10 PCR machine.
The laboratory is also providing tests for antigen receptor clonal assays, clotting disorders by testing for FVL and PTM; chimerism tests for transplant patients, JAK2 and calreticulin gene mutation analysis for myeloproliferative disorders and a variety of other genetic tests (UGT1A1, alpha and beta thalassemia). In the last few years, the use of next generation sequencing has been applied to the investigation of mutation detection in solid tumours using the Ion Torrent platform and Cancer panels for lung, colon, melanoma, GIST and other cancers with drug targetable mutations. The lab is equipped with 6 automated DNA and RNA extractors as well as a pyrosequencer (PyroMark Q96, Qiagen), automated high precision PCR setting up equipment (Qiagility). Additional information can be obtained from the Molecular Pathology website).
The laboratory is run by a team of seven clinical and biomedical scientists and hosts a team of research members of the department of Haematology and cellular pathology who are registered for PhD, masters and biomedical scientist courses. The team is integrated within the multidisciplinary facilities including flow cytometry, cytogenetics and morphology.
The Department supports the teaching of the discipline of haematology to medical and biomedical science undergraduate students.
Dr Andy Porter co-ordinates the haematology component of the Biomedical Sciences BSc which takes place in year 1 and involves a series of lectures and practicals. BMS students can later apply to do their research projects alongside the year 4 medical students undertaking the BSc in haematology.
The intercalated BSc in haematology is directed at medical students with an interest in the blood and its disorders; it also provides generic skills and provides transferable knowledge that can be readily applied to other disciplines. The course starts with a 2-week introductory module that provides generic skills and some core knowledge, followed by three 5-week taught modules and either a research project or a specialist taught course (two 5-week modules). The three main modules covers topics of haemostasis and thrombosis, leukaemia and lymphomas and red cell disorders. The students complete the course by a period of 10 weeks of laboratory experience during which a laboratory based (or library based, or clinical evaluation based) project is completed. For additional information, refer to the links in the sidebar.
Haematology staff regularly teach on the BSc and MSc courses (MRes, MSc Mol Med) run by other departments.
Education and travel scholarships
The Centre for Haematology has hosted Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) and Clinical Lecturers (CLs) under the NIHR funding scheme since its inception. Under present arrangements, we are allocated one ACF a year and one CL every two years. The posts are advertised and appointed through the London Deanery.
Haematology ACFs are encouraged to use their 9 months research funding to establish themselves in an Imperial laboratory of their choosing and obtain preliminary results to support an application for a clinical research training fellowship. So far all of our 15 ACFs have been successful. ACFs and CLs both receive additional travel bursaries and consumables support from the BRC and are allocated an appropriate supervisor.
The Department of Haematology is fortunate in having the support of the Philip and Helen Fialkow Memorial Travel Scholarships, in memory of the eminent haematologist, Philip Fialkow. This funding is provided to support our trainees, including medical students, PhDs, post-docs and clinical fellows to attend international meetings to present their work
Research groups and centre leadership
Head of Haematology
Professor Jane Apperley's particular interests are the biology and management of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) which has led naturally to an extensive experience in stem cell transplantation and more recently, to the use of signal transduction inhibitors in this disease. Professor Apperley also has a long-standing interest in the impact of haematological diseases and their treatment on fertility, pregnancy and fetal outcome.