Parents who lost son to brain tumour fights for post-Brexit research funding
A couple who lost their son to a brain tumour travelled to Westminster to hear how future research funding might be affected by Brexit.
Eileen and Terry Smith from Burton-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire, attended a cross-party parliamentary group (APPG) which was set up to champion the cause of brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
The APPG is exploring the challenges and opportunities for the brain tumour community posed by Brexit. It met in Westminster on Tuesday 28th November, to discuss the key safeguards it believes require urgent attention as the UK leaves the European Union.
The APPG is speaking out to ensure that brain tumour researchers and patients continue to benefit from a relationship with the EU that does not hinder scientific progress or access to drugs and treatments. Key safeguards for consideration at the meeting included:
- Funds for research – ensuring this is maintained or enhanced
- The health workforce – ensuring there is no loss and that future talent is attracted
- Accessing EU-wide clinical trials – ensuring our patients continue to benefit
- Accessing new brain tumour drugs – ensuring a smooth flow of new drugs to patients in the UK.
Eileen and Terry lost their son Michael to a brain tumour in 2015. He was diagnosed at the age of 24 after being admitted to hospital following a suspected seizure. He underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment and died at the age of 27.
Eileen said: “It is vital that we continue to lobby the government and keep up pressure on the larger cancer charities to ensure this cause is given the attention and the funding it deserves. Brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age therefore we must do all we can to make sure research funding, access to clinical trials and new drugs are not hindered as we prepare to leave the EU.”
APPG chair, Derek Thomas MP, said: “This is such an important issue for people up and down the country, including in my own St Ives constituency, as there are around 60,000 people living with a brain tumour in the UK. It’s vital that the APPG represents the legitimate concerns of clinicians and researchers, who are working so hard to develop new treatments for these patients.”
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of the charity Brain Tumour Research said: “It is in everyone’s interest to further this cause and ensure that research into brain tumours does not falter in its progress. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours was established to tackle decades of underfunding for research and other issues affecting families. Even now, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. It is inconceivable that patients and families, already desperate for a cure, should face any avoidable delay.”
For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or Susan@braintumourresearch.org
Notes to Editors
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.
We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.
Key statistics on brain tumours:
- Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
- They kill more children than leukaemia
- They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
- They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
- In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
- Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
- Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age
- Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.
Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.