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Members of the Oxford and Thames Valley MDS Patient Support Group, which provides support to those affected by Myelodysplastic Syndromes, visited the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) on Friday 29 September.

The visit was hosted by Dr Lynn Quek and members of Prof Paresh Vyas' research team at the MRC Molecular Hematology Unit, who are members of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine. Their research is supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

The visit started with a series of short presentations on current research in haematological cancers at the MRC WIMM, including efforts to improve patient care and recent advances in genomics and stem cell biology. This was followed by a lively question and answer session, and a tour of research facilities.

Nurse Kirsty Corzier, who leads the patient group said: “These visits are vital in helping patients/relatives fully understand, feel informed and appreciate where advances come from in relation to their disease, even if they are not yet feeling their direct impact”.

Feedback from the visit was very positive. “The best part for me was undoubtedly the input from Dr Quek and her colleagues, which fascinated both my daughter and me”, said one of the patients “We talked of little else for the rest of the day and still do! The laboratory visit was also most interesting.”

The researchers involved also benefited greatly from this experience. As Dr Quek explained, “visits such as these are also an opportunity for research scientists to exchange ideas with patients and involve them in the process”.

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