TWO years of life-saving research into the treatment of a killer disease feared lost forever by a Hampshire charity has incredibly survived the Italian earthquake disaster.

Leukaemia Busters were delighted to discover that laboratories where scientists had spent the past two-and-a-half years working to develop pioneering drugs to fight leukaemia remain standing.

The unbelievable news came after rescue workers allowed Professor Rodolfo Ippoliti into the devastated city of L’Aquila and see for himself the destruction caused by the 6.3 magnitude quake.

Despite being told that his laboratories at the University of L’Aquila had been flattened, the professor was amazed to find them still standing and with an electricity supply.

Although the interior of the buildings have been destroyed, the freezers containing the precious samples, developed in collaboration with the Southampton-based charity, were miraculously still in one piece and appeared to be running as normal.

Five scientists at the labs have been working with Leukaemia Busters as part of a project to design and develop new antibody-based drugs to treat patients with the disease.

Dr Flavell, who met with Professor Ippoliti in L’Aquila only three weeks ago, said: “We are obviously delighted that Professor Ippoliti has been able to go into the building and discover our samples are probably safe because the freezers are still running.

“It is incredible that they are still intact. Having seen the devastation caused to the whole city and knowing the buildings next to the laboratory completely collapsed it is a miracle that these freezers kept running throughout the quake and the subsequent aftershocks.

“Now it will be a case of wait and see before we can get any definite answers as to what exactly has been saved, but at least we know that there is a strong chance our work has survived.

“However, our scientific problems are on a small scale compared to the devastation in L’Aquila and our hearts go out to everyone effected by the earthquake.”

● For more information about the charity and how to support them call 023 80636 611 or visit leukaemiabuster.