Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate


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

What progress looks like

by Hugh Adams

Today we are excited to announce plans to launch an additional Centre of Excellence where scientists will be focused on helping to find a cure for brain tumours.

We are inviting applications from UK-based researchers and their teams to play a pivotal role in helping us achieve our vision of finding a cure for all types of brain tumour. We will be investing an initial £2.5 million over five years and thank our community of supporters for their tireless efforts in fundraising which have made the announcement possible.

The new Centre will grow capacity in the UK, bringing together or continuing to build a critical mass of staff, infrastructure and collaborations, while helping to transform research into the disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, our Chief Executive said: “We are extremely proud to be in a position to launch this call for applications for a new Centre. Thanks to our supporters, including many brain tumour patients and their families and those whose lives have been changed forever by this devastating disease, the year to June 2021 saw us deliver our best financial year yet.

“We emerged from a tumultuous year as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown with an income of £5.3 million, up 76% in the previous year. With the ongoing support of the brain tumour community, we are now working towards our ambitious aim of funding seven dedicated Centres of Excellence which will help us in our vision to find a cure, improve treatment options and bring much-needed hope to so many.”

Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation said: “Our Centres support long-term research, building the critical mass of expertise needed to accelerate the journey to find a cure. Our aim is to fund an innovative and ground-breaking proposal that will contribute to transforming brain tumour research and support long-term research, building the critical mass of expertise.”

The successful Centre will be announced during March which is Brain Tumour Awareness Month. It will join existing Centres at Imperial College, London, the University of Plymouth and Queen Mary University of London to become the latest Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence.

Some well-known friends of the charity have been reacting to this news:

Dame Sheila Hancock said – “It is a source of great pride to me that a charity that I have watched grow for over a decade is able to announce this research funding landmark. I send my congratulations to all involved and look forward to hearing all about the new research Centre in due course.” 

Leading sports broadcaster Jacqui Oatley MBE’s view is –I’ve been very happy to support Brain Tumour Research with their fundraising campaigns as I have known people who have been affected by this awful disease. To now find out that these fundraising efforts have resulted in a new Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence is so rewarding and I’d like to thank everyone who has donated and shared the vision of a cure for brain tumours – a new Centre is another step on that pathway to a cure.”

Television, radio and stage performer Debbie McGee whose husband TV magician Paul Daniels died from a brain tumour in 2016 told us - “I’ve been involved with Brain Tumour Research since my husband Paul died from a brain tumour. It is such a complex disease and the unique puzzle it poses will only be unlocked by dedicated sustainable research, research of the type that will be conducted at this new Centre. These are exciting times for those of us desperate to see progress towards a cure for brain tumours.

According to renowned property expert, businesswoman, TV presenter and writer Sarah Beeny; - “Brain Tumour Research is a cause that is personal to me but more than that the charity has become important to me as I've watched them grow and their impact increase. I am thrilled that we are at this new milestone of being able to introduce a new research Centre collaboration and strengthen UK based brain tumour research. Relationships with charities can be short lived but as I approach a decade of supporting Brain Tumour Research I do so with a sense of pride at what our charity is doing and optimism for what we can achieve together going forward.”

Iconic British milliner Stephen Jones OBE thinks that - As a milliner it was a natural choice for me support a charity that had Wear A Hat Day as its national fundraising day but my involvement was underpinned by the loss of a dear friend to a brain tumour. I have visited one of these research Centres and seen at first hand the cutting-edge work that is being conducted by dedicated and brilliant scientists. The fact that we are now able to bring new hope with a new Centre is just wonderful news.”

Popular garden designer and television presenter Danny Clarke said - “Over recent years I’ve got to know this charity well and I am both pleased and thrilled at this news because this is the route to improved options and outcomes for those diagnosed with a brain tumour and their families. It is terrific news about this next Centre where the brightest minds will be able to focus on discovery science into the disease that killed my sister. There is a special place in my heart for Brain Tumour Research and on hearing the news about a new Centre that heart was filled with pride.”

We think this good news needs sharing so if you are on Twitter why not use our logo as your image and then tweet the following: -

I'm proud to support @braintumourrsch who plan to launch an additional Centre of Excellence where scientists will be focused on helping to find a cure for #braintumours. This is real progress on the pathway to a cure. Join them in making a difference

Better still why not email this tweet and our logo to your MP with the following message –

Dear Your MP

Please join me in celebrating the progress Brain Tumour Research are making on the pathway to a cure for the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 by tweeting the following tweet and using the logo attached to this email.

I'm proud to support @braintumourrsch who plan to launch an additional Centre of Excellence where scientists will be focused on helping to find a cure for #braintumours. This is real progress on the pathway to a cure. Join them in making a difference

I campaign for this charity because (please then give your own reason). Your support in celebrating this piece of good news about a new dedicated Brain Tumour Research Centre would be sincerely appreciated as progress has been slow due to a lack of funding and brain tumour patients do not have the luxury of time.

Thank you.

Your name

Don’t forget to attach our logo

We’d also like to share our research news with you personally over Zoom and we will be holding three virtual events where you can hear all about this funding call from Dr Karen Noble and also be introduced to our Director of Income Generation and Development, Russell Marriott.

Times and dates will be in next week’s update

Together we have made this happen – we look forward to sharing ‘what progress looks like’ with you.

There has been plenty of research news involving Brain Tumour Research over the past week:

Please do click through to find out about an award for a scientist funded by Brain Tumour Research.  You can also learn about the winner of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS) Young Investigator Award, which Brain Tumour Research is proud to co-sponsor.  Finally on the research front we are hugely proud to announce we are to fund a novel therapeutics initiative

In political news this week we joined One Cancer Voice in writing to the Secretary of State ahead of 10-Year Cancer Plan.

This week the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced plans to reform medical devices regulation to improve patient health and encourage innovation. To signify products have met these world-leading standards, they will carry the UKCA marking, a new stamp of certification, replacing the CE mark.

The new measures include: “Making the UK a focus for innovation, and the best place to develop and introduce innovative medical devices – ensuring the new regulatory framework encourages responsible innovation so that patients in the UK are better able to access the most advanced medical devices to meet their needs.”

Our view is that the focus on innovation is an encouraging one. The use of devices to improve the effectiveness of drug delivery to brain tumour patients and to reduce the systemic toxicity they endure is one we believe to be vital as we push for improved patient outcomes.  Any legislation designed in part to lessen harsh treatments is to be applauded and the Government describes this as ‘an ambitious, transformational programme of reform’ and that is exactly what is needed.

Also, this week came the following response to a question from Rob Roberts MP by Health Minister Edward Argar MP:

Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his department has made in supporting the development of new treatments for serious diseases, including through the Cancer Drugs Fund; and what future plans he has to support the development of such treatments through (a) the Cancer Drugs Fund and (b) the Innovative Medicines Fund.

A. The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) supports patient access to the most promising new licensed cancer medicines and has benefitted more than 80,000 patients, with funding provided for 96 medicines treating 218 different cancers. We are providing £340 million for the Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) will support early access for National Health Service patients to new non- cancer medicines while further evidence is collected to address clinical uncertainty. This data will inform a future National Institute for Care and Health Excellence assessment of whether the medicine is cost effective. In addition, the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway and Project Orbis will support the rapid introduction of effective new medicines for the benefit of NHS patients

As we wrote in a campaigning update earlier this month when the IMF was launched, “Accelerating access to potentially life-saving treatments is particularly critical for brain tumour patients, many of whom do not have the luxury of time. We welcome the launch of this fund and hope that brain tumour patients will be amongst those benefitting from quicker access to novel treatments.

“The fact remains, though, that for brain tumour patients these new therapeutic options just haven’t been available. The route to clinical innovation and new therapeutics remains underpinned by appropriate funding of early-stage discovery research, such as that which Brain Tumour Research funds at its Centres of Excellence. That begins the translational pipeline and that is how we will find a cure.”

Jim Shannon MP, a great champion for health causes, received a reply to his recent question of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as to “what progress his department has made on introducing DNA tests for the detection of cancers?”

Replying on behalf of Sajid Javid, Maria Caulfield MP said:

NHS England and NHS Improvement are exploring a number of promising genetic tests which may support early detection of cancer and continue to monitor the evolution and development of new technologies. NHS England and NHS Improvement have agreed a partnership with GRAIL to test and accelerate its Galleri test into widespread usage across the NHS. The trial is currently in its first stage.

You can find out more about the blood test that finds 50 types of cancer but of course the crucial question is which are the 50 cancers detected? – and as you can see brain cancer isn’t among them. We did ask the folks at Galleri about this and were told “research on the test so far shows it is capable of identifying at least 50 cancers, but until the usage of the test is scaled up (partly through this trial) it's impossible to be more precise - it may well be a fair bit more than 50.”

Our position is and will remain that early diagnosis needs to be underpinned by access to new therapeutics and the devices that can administer them effectively. We sincerely believe that through the tenacity of our campaigners, the passion of our fundraisers and the brilliance of UK brain tumour scientists and researchers that are we en route to a perfect storm of better diagnostics, new innovative therapeutics that are quickly available for clinical trial, and drug delivery via improved devices meaning the therapeutic load is delivered with greater potency and less toxicity.

It’s what we campaign for, because it’s the pathway to our vision.

Finally, this week we wanted to pay a short tribute to Dame Deborah James who died earlier this week. Whilst burdened by her own disease she campaigned to create a better chance for others to live well with cancer. The power of her personality raised huge amounts of funds and awareness and she won’t be forgotten. Condolences from all of us at Brain Tumour Research to all of those whose lives were touched by this remarkable woman.

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