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ICR research hub named in honour of Artemis Wood

In September 2021, we welcomed the family of Artemis Alice Wood to our new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, to learn more about the leukaemia research they have generously supported.

Dr Caroline Furness, Jody Wood, Juliana Wood and Professor Sir Mel Greaves standing in front of a plaque with Artemis's name

Image: Dr Caroline Furness, Jody and Juliana Wood (Artemis's parents) and Professor Sir Mel Greaves

To recognise the significant funds raised by them to support our research, and to honour Artemis’ memory, we have named one of the collaboration hubs in the new building after her. The hub offers a place for scientists to interact and discuss ideas.

Artemis was three years old when she was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML). Despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses at The Royal Marsden and St George’s hospitals, she died just a few months later from complications caused by chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

Her family have since been closely connected with us, raising vital funding for the ICR’s research into childhood leukaemia.

Artemis’ father, Jody, is a member of an amateur cycling group known as the Rawhides. In

Artemis’ memory, the Rawhides rode 829 miles in eight days in July 2021, raising an incredible £165,000 for the ICR and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The 'Riding 4 Artemis’ challenge took the team on a punishing route from Durness to Wiltshire, via the West Coast of Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. In the end, the cyclists climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest – twice.

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Artemis Alice Wood (girl, blonde) smiling and holding a strawberryArtemis’ parents, Jody and Juliana, visited us during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to catch up with leading leukaemia scientist, the ICR’s Professor Sir Mel Greaves and Dr Caroline Furness a Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at The Royal Marsden, who was involved in Artemis’ care.

Professor Greaves’s lab is in our Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery. His research looks at leukaemia through the lens of evolutionary biology, with the ultimate aim of preventing leukaemia from developing in the first place.

During the visit, the group talked about Artemis and her cancer journey, the huge challenge Jody and his cycling team have undertaken, and their hopes that, in future, children with leukaemia might have a better outlook.

Professor Greaves spoke about his motivations for specialising in leukaemia research, how evolutionary principles impact this work and thinking, and his aspirations for his future research.

Jody said: “Artemis showed courage and resilience right until the very end, and she was the bravest of little girls. We wanted a tough challenge and to endure some pain in solidarity with her. We were in awe of the generosity shown by everybody who supported the ride and delighted by the total amount raised.”

Professor Sir Mel Greaves said: “Everyone here at the ICR is honoured that the Rawhides have chosen to support our research in Artemis’ name and memory. We are humbled to be part of her legacy, and we would like to create an enduring link between Artemis and the research advances we will be making for years to come.”

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