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

Vic Reeves reveals brain tumour diagnosis

Comedian Vic Reeves has revealed that he is living with an inoperable acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma).

Speaking on The Adam Buxton Podcast, Vic (pictured with his wife Nancy Sorrell) said that the grape-sized tumour is being monitored with regular MRI scans and that the tumour has caused him to go completely deaf in his left ear.

Acoustic neuroma is a sub-type of schwannoma that occurs in the inner ear, wrapping around the vestibular (auditory) nerve. Almost all are classified as grade 1, and symptoms tend to worsen over time as the tumours grow.

The Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth is Europe’s leading research institution for low-grade brain tumours, and has a strong focus on schwannoma and acoustic neuroma.

The team, led by Professor Oliver Hanemann, has developed an all-human cell model of schwannoma, developed from tissue samples donated by patients who have undergone surgery. This model is being used in laboratory experiments designed to learn more about the causes and behaviour of schwannomas, and ultimately to find a cure by developing targeted drug therapies.

Prof Hanemann said: “This tumour arises from mutations in the NF 2 gene and Vic would be more likely to have this diagnosis at his age than a younger man. It isn’t just a male disease with women affected equally. Issues with balance and hearing are common symptoms.

“At Plymouth we are working to understand how these tumours develop and through that to bring new therapies to patients diagnosed with acoustic neuromas. I am sure I speak for the whole of my team in wishing Vic well.”

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