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

A debate, a video and a car crash – Campaigning update

by Hugh Adams

This week saw the Westminster Hall debate that was triggered by Fiona Govan’s e-petition.

For those of you who haven’t read, or seen, what happened over a very emotional 90 minutes on Monday, here is the link to the written recording in Hansard whilst you can review the proceedings on YouTube here. I won’t detail the contributions extensively but I would point out that we communicated with a number of MPs ahead of the debate, and it was clear our comments were listened to, considered and incorporated into the speeches they made.

Derek Thomas MP (Chair of our APPG) asked about how to progress to DIPG trials in the UK and we will be working with him to see what opportunities we can exploit, and pathways we can cultivate ahead of, hopefully, continuing this discussion with Health Minister Jo Churchill.

Shadow Health Minister, Alex Norris, who we had spoken to that very morning, acknowledged our role in the general brain tumour research debate landscape in Westminster, saying that Brain Tumour Research “has been a phenomenal driving force in this area with the petition, the debate and all the other work that has gone on.”

Alex is certainly a Parliamentarian we look forward to working with more in the future.

There was plenty said on Monday to drive the debate on, and it did seem there was a common voice in understanding the need for better scientific research funding.

Our challenge is now, and will continue to be, turning warm words and sentiments into actions that will bring better funding for the discovery science that is the only way we will improve patient options and outcomes.

A report launched this week from All.Can UK is calling on policy makers, Government, the NHS, patient organisations and industry to work with them in placing the psychological wellbeing of people with cancer on equal footing to physical health.

We are very proud to be a part of All.Can UK, indeed we sit on the elected Steering Committee, and fully support the #CancerOutOfSightNotOutOfMind campaign to improve the lives of people living with and beyond cancer and ensure that every patient receives tailored, holistic care that supports their whole being.

The All.Can UK report: ‘Placing the psychological wellbeing of people with cancer on equal footing to physical health‘ can be accessed here. 

A key part of our research strategy is that every five years there is an intensive review of the research centres we fund (they are also reviewed annually) and this review is undertaken by our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB). The full review process is explained here.

This week our Centre partnership with the University of Plymouth came under rigorous scientific review, with an aim to validate both research which is already taking place and the work which the team hopes to undertake in the future.

Two specific areas under the reviewers’ microscope were work looking at the role of stem cells in tumours which transition from low to high-grade, and new drug targets and biomarkers for meningioma.

There will be more on this quinquennial review in next week’s update but today’s blog on our website is topical and highly recommended reading – “Funding research of the highest quality.”

Just launched this week, and coinciding with the review, I am very excited to share an innovative, interactive 360-degree video which allows you to take a virtual tour of the Plymouth lab,

You can watch videos of researchers explaining how they are working to get closer to a cure, find out more about the equipment used every day to make ground-breaking steps in brain tumour research and visit the Wall of Hope to see the tiles placed by supporters who have sponsored a day of research.

It is brilliant and you can find out more about its creation by clicking onto this blog from my colleague, and our digital marketing manager Rachael White

Finally, the amazing story of Hayden, his dad, Gary, plus Buster the dog, their car crash and subsequent rescue has been hard to avoid in the media over the past couple of days, whether on BBC Breakfast or on regional TV and radio up and down the country.

Please do support  'Hayden’s Appeal' for Brain Tumour Research.

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