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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

The Cancer Campaigning Group responds to Cancer Drugs Fund consultation

by Dr Kieran Breen

Brain Tumour Research supports the work of the Cancer Campaigning Group in relation to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) consultation.  The Cancer Campaigning Group, of which Brain Tumour Research is a member, has put together a response to the consultation following an All Members Meeting last year. The current arrangements for the CDF expire in April 2016 and the Government is currently holding a consultation over how the Fund can be shaped and funded in the future. Any effort to improve access to cancer treatment, especially those for rarer cancers such as brain tumours, should be supported and we will be engaging in the consultation both through the Cancer Campaigning Group and as a separate charity.

It is crucial that the Government commits to creating a long-term Fund, or replacement Fund, in order to give hope, security and an improved chance of survival for all those who do not respond to treatment routinely available on the NHS.

Brain Tumour Research has been largely positive about the current temporary Fund and believes that the new arrangements for a permanent Fund offer a promising avenue for new treatments to quickly reach patients.  However, we support the concerns of the Cancer Campaigning Group and call for a thorough response to the questions laid out within its consultation response.

We also believe the new Fund should include a criterion for the assessment of drugs for approval that prioritises treatments for those cancers affecting younger patients under the age of 40. The current criteria are (1) progression free survival (2) overall survival (3) quality of life (4) toxicity (5) unmet need (6) cost. Brain Tumour Research believes that by including a criteria that focuses on extending years of life lost, of which brain tumours average 20 years of life lost per patient, is essential for the new arrangement of the Fund and will be campaigning to see it happen.

We are determined to improve the survival rate for brain tumour patients and believe that the CDF will increasingly be a crucial facilitator of this.