We will continue unstoppable until we cure it
Someone once said, "Somewhere there is something incredible waiting to be discovered". I'm sure everyone would think of different discoveries. For me it would be to make leukaemia a curable disease in every single case. Of the more than 300,000 new cases of leukaemia diagnosed in the world every year, more
than 5,000 are in Spain. That means that every day 13 people receive this cruel diagnosis.
In 1988, when we established our Foundation, the possibilities of surviving this disease were slim. At that time, after years of scientific research, a bone marrow transplant was considered the best treatment for many cases of leukaemia and other blood diseases. But there was a drawback to this progress in the treatment for many malignant blood diseases. Only one in four candidates for a transplant had a donor in their family. The others had to rely on the solidarity of volunteer donors, but in Spain there was no donor register.
To resolve this problem the Josep Carreras Foundation founded the Bone Marrow Donor Registry (REDMO) in 1991. In 1994 REDMO was the only accredited programme in Spain for location of non-related donors worldwide. Today our Foundation has access to more than 30 million donors and more than 700,000 units of umbilical cord blood throughout the world. At the present time we are working with all the transplant units in public Spanish hospitals that are accredited to perform bone marrow transplants from non-related donors. This treatment has become a usual procedure for the cure of many leukaemias.
After three decades of work we face a new challenge. We have to improve patients' quality of life, but above all we must find a definitive cure for leukaemia.
So, in 2010 the Josep Carreras Foundation, together with the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), launched an historic and unprecedented project: the first European research centre devoted exclusively to leukaemia and other malignant blood diseases, and one of the few that exist in the world.
The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute is a centre without precedent which, through the work and rigour of researchers from around the world, employs the most innovative technologies to gain the upper hand against this disease. That leukaemia will one day be a totally curable disease is now something that lies in all our hands.
Today we are all researchers. We will not stop until we find a cure.