National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year
Brain Tumour Research meets with Health Minister
Brain Tumour Research met with Lord Hunt of Kings Heath and Health Minister Will Quince this week to discuss the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) report, Pathway to a Cure – breaking down the barriers. Also joining the meeting was Dr John Wilkinson, from the Department of Health and Social Care Liaison Officers Science, Research and Evidence Directorate.
The meeting began with Lord Hunt expressing his frustration, that over the past five years, only £10 million of the pledged £40 million for allocation to brain tumour research has been made available for deployment. Brain Tumour Research echoed Lord Hunt’s thoughts, that the current funding system is not fit for purpose, before adding there should be a review of previously rejected research funding bids in consultation with experts in the field of brain tumours. Moreover, there needs to be a brain tumour expert to consider applications and offer a unique lens of expertise.
The Minister credited Brain Tumour Research for the time he had spent focusing on brain tumours, stating: “It's the campaigning of not just your organisation, but also the very compelling and persuasive cases made by parents and campaigners who have experienced brain tumours, largely through loved ones - often tragically.”
Prior to our meeting, the Minister had spoken with Professor Lucy Chappell, CEO of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), who said they dearly wanted to fund even more research into brain tumours. The challenge remains how to make sure more of these bids are fundable. There are 15 that are currently being funded.
The Minister explained he and his team were exploring ways to get more bids funded, and how to refine unsuccessful bids to get them into a fundable position. Dr John Wilkinson said that he hoped that Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission Neuro Oncology Fellowships would encourage more people into brain tumour research. He stated that the Department wants to “develop more initiatives in this area” and that they are closely examining the APPGBT’s report recommendations.
Will Quince added that it's “very rare that funding is ringfenced in this way”, but that motor neurone disease (MND) research is also experiencing the same issue. Addressing the issue for brain tumour research will therefore “translate over to helping to address the issue around MND as well”.
We look forward to meeting the Minister again to continue this constructive dialogue. We believe that the set of recommendations in the APPGBT report provide a template for discussing important changes in the field of brain tumour research.
Will Quince concluded the meeting with a promising statement: “This is a priority for me. I support you in this. Let’s crack on and see what's possible.”
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