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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Lords debate brain tumour research

It was with great expectation that we watched a mini debate in the House of Lords this lunchtime. Former Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy (pictured) asked Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Lord Bethell, what financial support the Government is providing for research into therapies and treatments for people with brain tumours.

Lord Bethell’s replies gave us huge hope, for two reasons:

  • Lord O’Shaughnessy outlined that of the £40 million allocated for brain tumour research in 2018, to be managed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), just £6 million has been allocated. He suggested that “research is lagging” asking Lord Bethell if he “would be prepared to meet with the brain cancer research charities to think of a way forward.” To this Lord Bethell replied that “it is extremely frustrating that not more of the money has been spent” and that there was a “renewed focus on supporting the drafting of better grants” and that he would be “very pleased to meet with the charities … to discuss ways we can do that”. We would respectfully recommend that Lord Bethell looks on our website at today’s blog post from Consultant Neuropathologist Dr Kathreena Kurian for her thoughts on a better way for more effective, and ultimately successful, funding applications.
  • An acknowledgement of the vital importance of discovery science, of the type funded by Brain Tumour Research. Lord Bethell reiterated on a number of occasions that when it comes to brain tumour research there needs “more work to be done at an earlier stage” and that he wanted to know “how do we encourage the early-stage science and the creative drafting of fresh ideas?” We can help with that when we have our meeting!

There were further contributions from great supporters of Brain Tumour Research such as, Lord Carlile and Baroness Cotes, as well as Lord Reid and Lord Polak, who spoke of his own brain tumour diagnosis.

So, we have a clear path to take our case directly to Lord Bethell and this we will do. It may seem like a small step but it is another step, in fact, it is a milestone and we have had many in our decade of campaigning together – we hope you are as encouraged as we are by today’s events in The Lords.

Thank you for campaigning with us.

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