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Anthony Nolan award winners at prestigious ceremony

Researchers win prestigious awards for dedication to lifesaving research in support of Anthony Nolan:

Dr Robert Wynn, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at the Manchester Children’s Hospital, has won Clinical Supporter of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards (ANSAs) 2023 for his exceptional work championing cord blood research.

While Hatem Nawar, Cloud Customer Engineer for Google Cloud, has been awarded Scientific Supporter of the Year for his research improving the accuracy of stem cell matches between patients and donors using Google Cloud technology.

Both the Clinical Supporter Award and the Scientific Supporter Award are presented to a clinician or scientific supporter who has been particularly supportive of and championed Anthony Nolan and its work, whether behind the scenes or publicly.

The award winners were announced on the 14th of June at the Tower of London. Dr Wynn and Hatem Nawar joined guests including celebrities Kellie Shirley and social media star Vickaboo who were celebrated for using their platforms to raise awareness of the charity’s work.

Dr Robert Wynn receives his reward from Henny Baund MBE

The ANSAs, Anthony Nolan’s annual awards ceremony, has been taking place since 2013, and this was the first in-person awards since going virtual for the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2019 due to the pandemic.

Dr Wynn’s active co-leadership of the UK Cord Blood Initiative, his valuable input to the Graft Selection Strategy Workshop and his extraordinary publication on benefits of Cord Blood Transplantation in children are inspirational.

Cord blood is a valuable source of donor-derived stem cells for researching and treating blood cancers. Taken from the umbilical cord and placenta at birth, cord blood can be harvested to advance the field of blood cancer treatment. It is like bone marrow in adults and can be transplanted with more promising results in curing blood cancers like leukaemia.

Dr Wynn continues to champion cord blood research and support Anthony Nolan in promoting optimal graft selection via the Cord Support Programme. His dedication to this field ensures that patients have access to this valuable source of stem cells when they need it most.

Henny Baund MBE and Hatem Nawar

With over 10 years’ experience working at Google, Hatem Nawar has been an integral part of Anthony Nolan’s research into improving infrastructures for gene sequencing research.

As gene sequencing techniques evolve and improve over the years, labs have increased their capabilities to run multiple sequences at once, making it almost impossible to do the analysis manually. Implementing new technologies like Google Cloud has enabled Anthony Nolan to continue to perform cutting-edge sequencing through its improved storage capacities and flexible computing capabilities without wasting resources.

Hatem’s work has helped Anthony Nolan make more accurate matches of DNA between the cell donor and recipient.

After the ceremony, Hatem said: “It was an incredible event, the stories of other nominees in all categories and the stories I heard from patients and their families were so powerful and were a reminder of the important work that Anthony Nolan does and how it can literally save lives. To even be nominated felt like a great honour, and it felt amazing when I won. It is a recognition of the collaboration with the

Bioinformatics team at Anthony Nolan and the incredible work that they do. I’m really glad to be a small part of this effort.”
Dr Robert Wynn said: “We save lives with transplant, and the relationship with the Anthony Nolan underpins all the work that we are able to do. Almost all our transplants are sourced with the Nolan, and are from unrelated marrow or cord blood donors. That this award is from the Nolan is therefore especially important and means so much to me.”

Henny Braund MBE, Chief Executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “Both Dr Wynn and Hatem Nawar are hugely deserving winners of these awards; their incredible support and passion for our work is a fantastic example of our charity, which is built on making lifesaving connections. It was lovely to meet Dr Wynn and Hatem and I continue to find myself inspired and humbled by the dedication and strength of supporters like them.

“By raising vital funds and much needed awareness, we are curing blood cancer together. We can give families hope and give more people a future.”

Find out more about the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards at www.anthonynolan.org/awards

About Anthony Nolan
Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer. The charity uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer and blood disorder patients in need of stem cell transplants. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success and supports patients through their transplant journeys. Everyday Anthony Nolan gives three people a second chance at life. Find out more at www.anthonynolan.org

What is a stem cell transplant?
If a patient has a condition that affects their bone marrow or blood, then a stem cell transplant may be their best chance of survival. Doctors will give new, healthy stem cells to the patient via their bloodstream, where they begin to grow and create healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Key statistics
• About 2,300 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a stranger every year
• 90% of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood
• We need more young men to sign up, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 18% of the register
• We need more people from minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up. 71% of transplant recipients who are white Caucasian receive the best match. This drops dramatically to around 37% for transplant recipients who are from an ethnic minority background.
• Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK and the third biggest cancer killer. It accounts for 9% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK.
• It costs £40 to add each new donor to the register so we always need financial support
• To join the Anthony Nolan register, you must be 16-30 and healthy. Anthony Nolan’s world-leading Research Institute has shown younger donors offer better survival rates for patients.

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