Scientist backs shocking report on cancer funding neglect

A University of Wolverhampton professor is featured in a new national report aimed at addressing the historical underfunding of research into brain tumours and the devastating consequences of limited treatment options for patients and families.

The charity Brain Tumour Research today (Tuesday 11th October) published its National Research Funding Report.

It features contributions from Professor Tracy Warr, Professor of Neuro-Oncology at the University of Wolverhampton.

This follows significant contributions by Professor Warr on the issue, following the House of Commons Petitions Committee’s report earlier this year, which stated that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades”.

Following a parliamentary debate, the then Health Minister, George Freeman MP, announced the setting up of a “Task and Finish” working group at the Department of Health looking at areas highlighted by the Petitions Committee report. The group, comprising charities, parliamentarians, researchers and clinicians, will meet for the first time on 18th October 2016.

Professor Warr said: “To move forward, to translate laboratory and clinical research into better therapies to benefit brain tumour patients, we need to accelerate the rate of progress.

“We need to expand brain tumour research in the UK. The chronic underfunding for brain tumour research has to be addressed and the responsibility for this cannot lie solely with the voluntary sector.”

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research said: ““For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. Along with our member charities, we are campaigning for fairness in cancer research funding and seeking the support of the general public and organisations to donate and raise funds so that brain tumour patients can see the same improvements in treatments and outcomes that breast cancer and leukaemia patients have. Together we will find a cure.”

The University of Wolverhampton set up its Neuro-Oncology Research Centre in 2009 to lead the way in identifying the genetic causes of brain tumours and the treatments to deal with them and is backing the call for better funding.

Today’s report reveals:

  • Less than 10% of people in the UK know that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • A study of over 2,000 adults was conducted by Populus on behalf of Brain Tumour Research with respondents citing leukaemia as the biggest cancer killer of children and breast, lung and bowel as the biggest cancer killers of adults under the age of 40.
  • The report highlights the need for substantial funding increases from three main drivers of brain tumour research spend, Government partners of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), Cancer Research UK and other charity partners of the NCRI, and brain tumour research charities supported by the general public and organisations.

Brain Tumour Research is campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to £30 million - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia, in order to advance treatments and ultimately find a cure.

The report describes the stark inequalities in cancer research funding in the UK, which correlate tragically to poor survival rates for brain tumour patients. Less than 20% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years of their diagnosis, whereas 86% of breast cancer and 51% of leukaemia patients survive beyond five years.

For a copy of the full report go to Brain Tumour Research.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer…
  • Yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
  • 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.
  • Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.

NB. Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source for these figures. Additional facts and statistics are available from Brain Tumour Research.

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