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Research News

National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

Major funding announced for childhood brain tumour research

The family of a teenager lost to a brain tumour are marking the fourth anniversary of his death by committing to raise £143,657 funds to help find a cure.

William Low was just five when he was first diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma brain tumour. He fought a stoic battle and sadly passed away on 11th August 2017, just six weeks before his 18th birthday.

Four years on, the Member Charity set up in his memory, The William Low Trust, has announced its commitment to fund a PhD student over a four-year period to improve outcomes for other patients with medulloblastoma.

William's mum, Helen, said: “Setting up The William Low Trust was our way of doing something positive for other families. Our dearest wish is that William’s legacy brings hope for families in the future, who are supporting a loved one who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“We have a lot of work to do in raising the funds over the next four years but are committed to making a significant difference to treatment for people with medulloblastoma brain tumours.”

The researcher will join the team at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), developing new treatment strategies to inhibit the progression of aggressive medulloblastoma.

Lead researcher at QMUL, Professor Silvia Marino, whose team recently announced they had discovered a breakthrough in the way that children with medulloblastoma might be treated in future, said: “A better understanding of the molecular changes that contribute to medulloblastoma is vital for developing new targeted therapies for this type of brain tumour. The grant from The William Low Trust is particularly welcome because historically the retention of gifted scientists in the brain tumour research arena has been a challenge because of poor funding.”

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, our Chief Executive, said: “Losing a child to a brain tumour is devastating; you never get over it. The irony of William’s story is that Helen and her family were very supportive to my sister when we lost her little girl, my beloved niece, Alison Phelan to a brain tumour just three weeks before her eighth birthday in 2001. As a family, we were shocked at the lack of awareness and horrified to discover how little research was going into brain tumours and were determined to change this by setting up the charity Ali’s Dream, with the support of family and friends like Helen. For Helen and her family to also go through the agony of William’s brain tumour diagnosis and journey was cruel.

“Brain Tumour Research is indebted to William’s family and The William Low Trust for their incredible support in funding the fight against brain tumours. Together we will help find a cure so that no other families have to go through the devastation that we have.”

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