Monthly Archives: February 2015

£13,000 and rising!

Team Jackie runners have already raised a further £13,000 from this year’s Bath Half.  Brilliant effort.  Lots of sponsorship always comes in just before the race, and typically more than 25% comes in after the race, so I’m hopeful that we can exceed £20,000 – if not £25,000.  Come on, let’s go for it!

With only 24 hours until the race, it’s a great time to get a last pre-race reminder out to all of your friends and contacts, some of whom I’m sure will be intending to sponsor you but either haven’t got around to it yet or may have slipped their mind.  Today, for the first time in months, you don’t need to feel guilty about putting your feet up.  Watch the rugby! And maybe send off one last email!

Thank you all so much for this amazing effort!

24 hours to go!

Wishing all the runners in tomorrow’s Bath Half the very best of luck! The weather is looking a bit of a mix bag – showers, sun and wind – so who knows!  Suggest you pack for all eventualities.  Today, try to:-

  • carb up
  • stay hydrated
  • do some stretching (and rollering)
  • pack for tomorrow
  • remember your runner’s pack
  • take safety pins to fix your number
  • take an old jumper to stay warm before the start
  • bring a towel & shower gel for a post run shower
  • take some energy gel or jelly babies
  • Maybe bake some cakes to bring
  • And don’t forget your trainers!

See you in The Illustrious Suite between anytime 8.30 and 10.00am


Good Luck!

3 days to go!

Nearly there now!  The pain will soon be over!  We still have about 85 fit (or at least not entirely broken!) runners ready for Sunday.  I believe it is likely to be a dry day but pretty windy – might bring a wing-suit to assist.  Anyway, the hard work is done now, just one final run (until next year!).  So chill for a few days, carb up, alcohol down and work on your JustGiving page.  We have already raised over £11k this year which is brilliant.  With a large amount of fundraising typically coming in just before and after an event, I think that £20k looks eminently possible. £30k would result in Team Jackie breaking the £200k barrier!   Dare we dream?

Encouraging progress on research

Here’s an update on our research project.  Sorry it’s a bit tech but basically, it’s going really well!


“Tumours can release tumour cells into the bloodstream (circulating tumour cells or CTCs) and can shed small fragments of genetic material (cell-free DNA or cfDNA). The aim of our project is to establish and refine processes for extracting information from patients’ blood (contained within CTCs or cfDNA), which may inform treatment choices.


The majority of Year 1 tasks have been completed. The time-limiting part has been identifying optimal methods for collecting minute amounts of cfDNA. A process called ‘making a library’ which (like a real library) can be used repeatedly as reference material to answer many questions using next-generation sequencing (NGS). NGS is a high-throughput, low-cost way of finding out the sequence of many genes at the same time. We have selected a set of genes thought to be altered in patients with pancreatic cancer. To illustrate the speed of technology evolution, when this project was first conceived this list comprised some 20 genes, 6 months ago 100, and now comprises 600 genes which can now be examined.


Sample collection from patients with pancreatic cancer began in October 2014. Blood samples from 30 patients will be collected, so far 12 patients have been recruited. Sample collection is performed by the Christie/CR-UK BioBank, who will also source tumour tissue collected from patients who had an operation as part of their treatment. We intend to compare tumour DNA with cfDNA from blood from the same patients. This will take place in the next 6 months.


Next, patient recruitment will continue and data generation from patient samples will begin. NGS produces huge and complex data sets which will require skilled interpretation.  Dr Crispin Miller (senior group leader, applied computational biology and bioinformatics department, CR-UK MI) will perform this analysis. Importantly, we have worked with this team recently with similar data, which has resulted in a highly prestigious publication in Nature Medicine.


Following this project, we hope to design a clinical trial where treatment options are personalised based on the types of blood tests developed here, with the intention of substantially improving survival outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.


92 runners at Bath!

Hope to see lots of you at Bath on 1st March – if you are not running, then be great to see to cheering!