The Grand Challenge - Help Fund Research into the Blood-Brain Barrier

The blood-brain barrier stops most standard cancer drugs from treating brain tumours.

So we're challenging you, your friends, family and colleagues to pledge to raise a grand (£1,000) however you like to help fund blood-brain barrier research.

The Grand Challenge is a unique fundraising partnership between Brain Tumour Research and another leading UK charity, the Dr Hadwen Trust. The aim of this campaign is to jointly raise £180,000 to fund a three-year research project into the blood-brain barrier.

Sign up today and make the pledge to take on your Grand Challenge, or leave a donation to support blood-brain barrier research.

The blood-brain barrier is a powerful protector for the brain, guarding this most vital and complex of organs against toxins travelling in the blood. Many treatments for cancer in the body, such as chemotherapy and cancer-targeting drugs, are delivered through the bloodstream and the blood-brain barrier prevents these from crossing into the brain, making it more difficult to combat brain tumours.

Research into the blood-brain barrier is being led by Professor Geoff Pilkington, lead scientist at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence in the University of Portsmouth. Professor Pilkington is an international expert on brain tumours and a pioneer in blood-brain barrier research, having created the world's first 'all-human' blood-brain barrier model.

Knowing that the animal model of the blood-brain barrier did not directly relate to the human barrier, Professor Pilkington set out to create a unique all-human version that could be used by researchers in the lab. His model uses only human brain cells, human brain glioma (tumour) cells and human serum.

This blood-brain barrier model is being used by Professor Pilkington’s group and other researchers for live cell imaging and to provide a basis for the investigation of the cellular and molecular features of invading tumour cells. Revealing the precise mechanisms of tumour cells’ invasive behaviour is essential to the development of successful new therapies for this most devastating of diseases.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet brain tumour research receives just 1% of the national spend on cancer research. This is unacceptable!

We are striving to fund a network of seven dedicated centres research whilst challenging the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in brain tumour research.

Help us fund the fight. Together we will find a cure. 

Pledge your support today. 

About the Dr Hadwen Trust

The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity.

They fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.

Unlike many other cancers, brain tumour research does not benefit from general research. DHT recognises that this is unacceptable and that through their collaboration with Brain Tumour Research believe the Grand Challenge campaign will help both charities generate more funds in support of this vastly underfunded and under-resourced area of brain tumour research.

This latest project will further an association between DHT and Professor Pilkington going back many years. It was DHT funding which enabled Professor Pilkington to develop an ‘all-human’ blood-brain barrier model. Prior to this, existing 3D models of tumour invasion used mixed cultures of human and animal cells, and were usually cultured with foetal calf serum.

DHT is delighted to be working with Brain Tumour Research. Find out more here.



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We aim to fund brain tumour research in the same way as leukaemia, breast and other cancers - will you help us?