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

The Brain Tumour Research third annual research workshop

by Dr Kieran Breen

The Brain Tumour Research third annual research workshop took place last week with 28 researchers attending from our four research centres, in addition to the BRAIN UK tissue banking facility which we also fund. The theme of the meeting was collaboration, as it is important to realise that we do not just fund individual research programmes but rather support a network of centres of excellence which facilitates true research partnership and joint working.

The two-day meeting opened with presentations from each of the centres. In particular, they highlighted their key achievements over the previous 12 months, while underlining the opportunities to collaborate with the other centres by identifying common research themes. It was obvious from the presentations that there is an increasing number of joint research projects underway and that these interactions are starting to mature resulting in the generation of joint research publications and knowledge sharing.

One of the most important parts of the workshop was the poster session when the younger researchers were given an opportunity to present and discuss their research in greater detail with the other participants. This allows for detailed face to face discussions about specific research that is being carried out.  There was a real buzz of excitement in the room with a lot of animated discussions about how the researchers could combine ideas and expertise to further develop the existing research and the generation of new ideas for novel future joint research studies which will bring us closer to a cure.

Our mission is to build a network of experts in sustainable brain tumour research and through our Centres, we aim to develop the next generation of world-class researchers in the area of neuro-oncology. In our quest to increase the national investment in brain tumour research we invited representatives from Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council to talk with our young researchers to make them aware of the funding that is available to them and how they should go about applying for personal research funding to bring more money into brain tumour research enabling the development of new brain tumour research groups and therefore increase the UK capacity to carry out vital research in this area. Brain Tumour Research plays a pivotal role in this by providing the support for researchers at the early stage of their career. Your fundraising stimulates an interest in neuro-oncology in the wider research community enabling our researchers to go on and seek funding from the government and larger cancer charities.

Finally, the workshop provided the researchers with an opportunity to discuss how they can further develop their relations with the charity. Brain Tumour Research has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Department of Health Task and Finish Working Group on the funding of brain tumour research within the UK. Alongside Sue Farrington Smith MBE, our Chief Executive, Mr Kevin O’Neill who is a leading neurosurgeon and leads our Centre of Excellence at Imperial College also sits on the group. The researchers discussed how we can work together to ensure that we are focused in our campaigning for increased investment for research into brain tumours from the Government and larger cancer charities.