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

Our report is launched!

Our report is launched!
by Hugh Adams

As you all know, in the wake of the #BrainTumourPetition, we have produced a #BrainTumourPetition report of which we are hugely proud. We could not have done it without you and I am delighted to say it is now available to view and download here.

We had a huge response from last week’s call for you to ask your MPs to tweet their support for the report – we sent a hard copy to all 650 of our elected representatives at Westminster. We are still monitoring what they then did but we are hugely grateful that you made contact with so many MPs who we haven’t previously engaged with – they will all be hearing from us again...and again! We also communicated with everyone who signed the petition asking them to do the same and the response has been extraordinary – I’d say overwhelming except we aren’t overwhelmed, just deeply moved that so many people are supporting our cause.

Will we make a difference?

Well, we had a very interesting meeting this week with someone who has held a senior post at Westminster and also has a personal reason to support our cause. They told us that those who shout the loudest, those who have the momentum and the support of many MPs – those who are persistent and tenacious, those who have ministers advocating on their behalf, those who just won’t go away and cannot be ignored, those are the causes that are successful when it comes to having money allocated.

We aren’t going away.

The report although a milestone isn’t a full stop, it is the next step in our journey and will inform our asks of politicians over the course of the Parliament as we seek to work with them to get the funding parity needed.

We believe the political will is there to make a difference, we just have to steer everyone on the right path and challenge some of the old ways of doing things, and your continued help and support will remain as vital as ever.

Yes, we are making a difference and we will continue to make a difference. Brain tumour patients do not have the luxury of time and the country’s response to the pandemic has shown us that;

  • Science and research are critical to moving things forward clinically
  • This research must be appropriately funded with barriers to progress removed
  • We can do things differently to speed up getting new solutions to the public

These lessons can, and must, be applied to improving options and outcomes for brain tumour patients. We are mobilising the brain tumour community to speak with a common voice, we have many allies in the media as huge amounts of coverage yesterday showed and now more MPs than ever have been made aware of our cause. Together with the brain tumour community, the media and politicians will make that difference and be everything that our friend at Westminster mentioned we need to be successful.

Brain Tumour Research was delighted to hold a briefing meeting with Ruth Cadbury, Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth, at the end of last year. This week, at oral health and social care parliamentary questions, Ms Cadbury asked: “What discussions he (The Secretary of State) has had with the National Institute for Health Research on increasing the number of research grants for the treatment of brain tumours?”

As part of her reply, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jo Churchill, who was replying on behalf of the Secretary of State said: “There has been £8.8 million committed so far based on the NIHR programme and academy spend. The important thing is the quality of the applications. Brain tumours are invidious, and we need to do more and we need to go faster.”

We are very pleased to have Ruth as a Parliamentary advocate as we campaign for better and more effective access for researchers to NIHR funding for their vital work. We also particularly note Jo Churchill’s final comment, we do indeed “need to do more and we need to go faster” and that is why Brain Tumour Research, as well as being a research funding charity is also, at its core, a campaigning charity too.

It feels everything is moving forward but there are still responses to Parliamentary questions, or to your enquiries of your MPs, that seem rather ‘cut and paste’ and don’t reflect the current state of play. We are committed to making sure MPs have the most up to date information at their fingertips – it is a work in progress but we will get there.

Actually, talking about keeping up to date I really recommend checking in to our Latest News page regularly, the content is frequent, timely and relevant and this week we were very pleased to bring news of a real piece of game-changing research into Medulloblastoma that has come from our Queen Mary University of London research centre.

Finally, we were very pleased to contribute to the article saving lives will be “set back decades” without funding now, says medical research charities published on the ‘That’s news to me’ website – an interesting read for the weekend after a very exciting week.

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