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

Medulloblastoma scientist joins our pioneering Research Centre

The Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London has welcomed a second new researcher to its pioneering team.

Thomas Willott, 22, will be researching medulloblastoma, the most common high-grade paediatric brain tumour. His research will focus on group 4 medulloblastoma, which has relatively poor outcomes for patients due to very limited understanding of how it develops and varies.

Our Member Charity, The William Low Trust, has committed to raise £143,657 to fund Thomas’ studentship. The charity’s contribution is in memory of William, who was just five when he was diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma. William fought a stoic battle and sadly passed away on 11th August 2017, just six weeks before his 18th birthday.

Currently, patients with medulloblastoma are treated with standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can have significant side effects causing long-term damage to the developing brain. Thomas’ project will focus on testing new treatment combinations to discover whether they show improved efficacy in preventing tumour growth, including new targeted therapies in combination with conventional chemotherapy agents at reduced doses to limit their detrimental side effects.

We are hopeful the findings of this research project will lead to a clinical trial testing drug combinations which demonstrate the most favourable properties, giving it significant potential to directly improve treatment options for patients.

Professor Silvia Marino, who leads the team at Queen Mary, said: “Historically, the retention of gifted scientists in the brain tumour research arena has been a challenge because of poor funding. The ongoing support from Brain Tumour Research and its Member Charities is vital in helping us secure the high-calibre researchers of the future. With secure, long-term funding, we can ensure the sustainability of our research, which holds the key to unlocking the unique puzzle that brain tumours pose.”

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