Katrin Ottersbach meets young Blood Cancer UK fundraiser Mia

16th December 2021

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Katrin features in the fundraising video with Mia and her parents

CRM Group Leader Professor Katrin Ottersbach recently met Blood Cancer UK fundraiser, Mia and her parents Anjna and Simon to talk about their experience of blood cancer and Katrin’s research.

At 7 months old Mia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and her parents learned that the chance of babies with leukaemia surviving until their fifth birthday was only 50:50. This week, Mia turns five.

Mia and her parents feature along with Katrin in Blood Cancer UK’s Christmas fundraising campaign video (right). On a cold November day, Katrin met with Mia and her parents for a day of filming and fun. Mia got to play with science themed games and our outreach microscope while her parents took turns to visit Katrin Ottersbach’s labs.

Katrin said, "Meeting Mia and her parents has been an absolute joy and privilege. As a lab-based scientist I do not often get the opportunity to meet patients and their parents. Hearing their story has been hugely touching and inspiring. It puts everything we do into the right perspective and reminds us of the importance of our work."

Professor Ottersbach’s laboratory is helping to build an understanding of infant leukaemia in order to develop treatments for children like Mia, supported by Blood Cancer UK. Her lab recently identified key genes, involved in both early fetal development and infant leukemia, which could be used as targets to treat this devastating disease.

In the video, Mia's mum Anjna said "With Mia coming up to this milestone, I feel incredibly passionate about what are we doing to invest in research for the future."

More about Mia’s story

Donate to Blood Cancer UK

Ottersbach Research Group

News article: Fetal origin could be infant leukemia’s “Achilles heel”