New and groundbreaking research centre based at QMUL’s Blizard Institute paves the way for a £20m investment in brain tumour research over the next 5 years
Patients, scientists, and celebrities gathered late last month to unveil a new and groundbreaking centre for brain tumour research based at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute. In cooperation with the UCL Institute of Neurology, the research Centre of Excellence is a welcome boost to long-term sustainable and continuous research into brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of young adults in the UK. The launch comes as research produced earlier this year revealed that 1 in 50 deaths under the age of 60 are caused by brain tumours, yet the field currently receives just 1% of national cancer research spending.
The event was hosted by Brain Tumour Research Patron, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP – Speaker of the House of Commons. Bercow spoke about his ongoing support. “This is an historic moment for Brain Tumour Research. Based on what they have achieved already, the prognosis is now brighter for patients and families affected by this terrible disease, but we can’t be complacent. Unlike many other cancers, brain tumour research does not benefit from general research. It is only through giving to charities funding laboratory-based research that all 120+ types of brain tumour will be cured”. Also in attendance was retired actor Ian Reddington, a Patron for Brain Tumour Research who now spends his time working to raise awareness of underfunding in brain tumour research.
The centre is being led by Professor Silvia Marino, a leading brain tumour scientist and neuropathologist based at the Blizard Institute. Marino will specialise in identifying how glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) forms and grows within the brain with the final aim of identifying more efficient treatments. Attending the event, Professor Marino spoke of her support for the partnership:
“The launch event signified a milestone for brain tumour research. As long-term funding is secured, it frees us from the constraints of applying for one specific project grant after another and will facilitate the recruitment of the brightest junior scientists and clinicians to the neuro-oncology field. This is a major initiative in an underfunded research area in the UK”
Attendee Lucy Jones, a PHD student who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at a young age, spoke at the event of her experience with the illness, “After my diagnosis I felt I’d been dealt two blows. Having a brain tumour and a disease about which so little is known. Today is a hopeful day for me, a positive step forward which means others may not have to face the devastation my family and I have had to face.”
With secure long-term funding covering crucial salaried positions, researchers at QMUL will now be free to pursue the sustainable and continuous research so desperately needed by scientists and clinicians working in this underfunded field. The centre hopes to train scientists to reach their full potential in brain tumour research, who at present become tempted into other cancer research which currently offers both greater funding and job prospects. The relationship with QMUL, alongside additional new partnerships with Plymouth University and Imperial College in London, will pave the way for a £20 million investment in brain tumour research over the next five years. This is just the beginning for the Centre of Excellence which will require fundraising from students across London and the UK to meet its long-term goals. Just £2,740 will pay for a day’s research.
If you’d like to get involved in fundraising events or find out more please contact Lauren@braintumourresearch.org