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The Miriam Hyman Myeloma UK Research Grant

Miriam was a voluntary fund raiser for Myeloma UK for several years and this research grant has been awarded in her name in recognition of her contribution to this charity. The grant is for £40,000 for one year. Miriam would have been overwhelmed and deeply appreciative, as are her family.

On Friday 22nd February 2008 Esther was invited to the Christie Hospital in Manchester for the presentation of a plaque commemorating the Miriam Hyman Myeloma UK Research Grant, awarded in October 2007.

The event was also attended by Professor Alexander Molassiotis, leader of the research project, Barbara Wilson who is assisting with the research, Eric Lowe, Chief Executive of Myeloma UK, their Service Development Manager, Monica Morris, and Amanda Gibson from their Edinburgh office.

Esther says: "We had about an hour to discuss the research project, its background, aims and its particular importance in the field of Myeloma, a relatively rare form of bone marrow cancer. I had not previously appreciated the current lack of data concerning Myeloma sufferers and their carers, and I now understand that this will be ground-breaking research which could affect the future provision of services as well as hopefully forming a basis for future research.

"After lunch we were joined by Jim Cavet, Tracey Howe, Susan Blair and Justine Parkin who are all part of the specialist Myeloma team at the Christie Hospital, which is one of the leading cancer centres in Europe. We had a brief chance to chat with them about the implications of the research project and then we had some photographs taken for the Press.

"We gave a copy of Miriam’s art book, Mimento – Paintings & Pastels, to the hospital and we hope that staff and patients alike will derive much pleasure from it and will get a sense of what Miriam was like.

"We would like to thank Myeloma UK and the staff at Christie Hospital for their kind hospitality. It was an honour as well as an education, and we will look forward to hearing the outcomes of the research with interest."


Eric Lowe, Professor Molassiotis & Esther with commemorative plaque


Title of research study: Assessing the supportive care needs and quality of life in myeloma patients and their partners
Study Lead: Professor Alexander Molassiotis, University of Manchester


Background to the study

Myeloma is a complex form of cancer with many troublesome and painful physical and psychological symptoms. Although treatments are increasingly sophisticated, a great deal of myeloma treatment and management continues to take place outside of the hospital setting.

This means that many patients spend a considerable amount of time managing symptoms and treatment procedures in their home, often with limited outside support. There is a lack of evidence on the support needs and quality of life of myeloma patients, and whether these needs are actually met.

Support needs for patients and their partners include appropriate information about myeloma, psychological and emotional support and expert management of symptoms such as fatigue and pain.

Support also includes practical advice, education and reassurance regarding self management of symptoms and treatments, and addressing the difficulties in aspects of life such as work and sexuality which are often affected by myeloma. Partners have their own unique support needs as they are coping with their partners’ illness while simultaneously providing support to their loved one.


Aims of this study

This research study aims to assess the support needs and quality of life of patients with myeloma, and the degree to which these needs are met. The researchers will also explore:

Whether supportive care needs and quality of life are influenced by age, type of treatment and time since diagnosis

The factors that might allow health professionals to predict the support needs of myeloma patients and their partners

This 12 month research project will look at quality of life, psychological effects and unmet support needs in over 250 myeloma patients and partners. From these assessments, particular themes will be drawn out and a sub sample of patients and their partners will be and identified and interviewed to explore these issues in depth.


The value of this study

Results from this research will provide the evidence needed to develop more customised, patient-centred interventions in the future, aimed at optimising delivery of care and improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their carers.

Identifying the unmet needs of patients and their carers will also highlight the areas of supportive care that need improvement. Predicting those patients most in need of supportive care strategies will help healthcare professionals provide appropriate support to those who need it, when they need it.


Visit Myeloma UK's website: www.myelomaonline.org.uk

Visit the Christie Hospital website: www.christie.nhs.uk

Related links 
The Myeloma UK Press Release 01 March 2008
The Archer April 2008
The Jewish Chronicle 06 February 2008
Manchester Supportive and Palliative Care Research March 2008

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