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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

A funding workshop, recommendations and representatives

In a welcome move The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) are facilitating two free webinars aimed at increasing the number of successful funding applications in brain tumour research. To be held on 5th and 7th October they will provide an overview of current funding opportunities and how to create a successful proposal.

There are confirmed speakers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), The Brain Tumour Charity (TBTC) and Brain Tumour Research.  

Our Chief Executive, Sue Farrington Smith MBE is excited to be presenting at the event and said: “It is testament to the hard work and tenacity of the APPG on Brain Tumours (APPGBT), for whom we provide the secretariat, that these workshops are now taking place. Through the APPGBT we identified the low success rate for research applications and the fact that three years after £40 million was declared available for allocation through the NIHR to brain tumour research, less than 25% of that amount has actually been allocated to researchers. The APPG also provided the platform for researchers, most particularly Professor Kathreena Kurian Professor of Neuropathology at the Bristol Medical School (PHS) Brain Tumour Centre, to propose a way forward and it is that innovative yet persistent approach that has led to this announcement. I’m very proud to be taking part and sincerely hope the outcome will be more money being allocated to the researchers because it is they who hold the key to unlocking the unique puzzle that brain tumours pose.”

The webinars are open to all researchers and clinicians who want to apply for brain tumour research funding and you can register here; - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/funding-in-brain-tumour-research-successes-pitfalls-opportunities-tickets-170443675622

The European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) have released clinical practice guidelines, which provide management recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of patients with solid tumour brain metastases. The practice guidelines, which were provided by a multidisciplinary group of experts from institutions in Europe, cover clinical and pathological diagnosis, staging and risk assessment, and treatment and follow-up and are based on available scientific data and the authors’ collective expert opinion recommendations. They were published in the Annals of Oncology.

Results have been announced from a Phase 0/1 trial of ribociclib plus everolimus in patients with high-grade glioma. The purpose of the study was to determine the combined effect of RB-CDK4/6 and mTOR inhibitors on recurrent HGGs by evaluating the tumour pharmacokinetics (PK) and tumour pharmacodynamics (PD). The results were published in the journal of Neuro-Oncology and will also be presented at the forthcoming EANO Meeting.

The British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS) is keen to hear from individuals who would like to be considered for the voluntary role of Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) / Allied Health Professional (AHP) Representative on the BNOS Council. The CNS/AHP Representative has a key role on Council supporting the model of multi professional working within the Society.  The role will be important in raising the CNS and AHP profile with the Society and providing insight into the patient safety and experience agenda within neuro-oncology.

New findings provide a deeper understanding of Meningioma, the most common – but highly under-studied – type of brain tumour, opening a new treatment pathway for patients. Treatment options have largely been limited to surgery and some use of radiation therapy. The new findings show that there are in fact four distinct subtypes of meningiomas based on integrated genomic and epigenomic characteristics of the tumours. The study, published in the journal Nature, has identified unique tumour characteristics which have led to other viable medical treatment options for the first time, based on the biological drivers of these tumours.

This Canadian based research will interest and be of relevance to the UK based Meningioma research we fund at our University of Plymouth Research Centre where part of their research portfolio is classifying meningioma for personalised medicine treatments.

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) has written to NHS Digital, sharing a joint statement signed by 20 medical research charities, including Brain Tumour Research, which outlines concerns and key asks for implementing the GP Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) programme. The statement highlights charities’ support for the use of GP data for research, but urges NHS Digital to communicate proactively, transparently and responsively to ensure public trust in the programme. It specifically calls for more clarity about the choices available for people to opt-out, the commercial access to data, and the proposal to introduce Trusted Research Environments. 

Finally this week there has been widespread coverage that a blood test that finds 50 types of cancer is accurate enough to be rolled out. Currently no form of brain cancer is among the 50 cancer types listed however we understand from Grail that “research on the test so far shows it is capable of identifying at least 50 cancers, but until the usage of the test is scaled up (partly through this trial) it's impossible to be more precise - it may well be a fair bit more than 50.”

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