In our first year as a charity, Story FMR has received a far greater level of support than the trustees had anticipated, and with your support we have raised a great deal more than we believed we would. In recognition of this success, Dr Mazhar Ajaz, Story FMR’s Chairman, writes below to give notice of exciting changes he plans to make from mid-April 2018.
“Story FMR has provided an exceptional opportunity for me to pursue a singular personal goal – to fix melanoma – and I am hugely grateful to Pam and the Board of Trustees for their enormous hard work in bringing us to where we are now. Unexpectedly, we have a platform for major success on a national stage. We will be systematically scoping all possible opportunities for collaboration (science, clinical trials, prevention activity, activism) across the UK and very much look forward to working with you all to make a big difference. We have some highly compelling results from our initial research here in Guildford and we are now going to be seeking high-impact scientific partners in order to do justice to this work and other highly promising novel concepts, in order to bring them closer to patients.
After some years of treating people with melanoma, and putting heart and soul into it, I have made a decision to step back from frontline NHS care for a period of time in order to devote maximum effort towards addressing the shortcomings in available treatment. Immunotherapy has been a massive advance, and is curing more than half of the people that come through our doors, but for the rest, we must increase our portfolio of treatments in order to save more lives.
I plan to make a real effort to accelerate our basic research and our clinical research in melanoma across the UK to make sure that what we are doing is going to make a material difference to patients. Some of this is about better access to existing treatments; some is about newer treatment approaches; all of it is about collaboration and working with people working in this field across the country so that we have a coordinated, intelligent approach and make a proper contribution towards our goal, which is a 100% cure rate.
Here at Story FMR, our core values remain the same: a deep passion to fix this disease, and to make sense of and learn from every melanoma story that we encounter.”
Dr Mazhar Ajaz