University secures MP’s backing for brain tumour research funding campaign

Professor Tracy Warr, Peter Realf, Wolverhampton South MP Rob Marris and Dr Anushree SinghThe University of Wolverhampton is supporting a campaign calling for increased funding for brain tumour research ahead of a Parliamentary Debate next week.

Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris visited the University today (FRI) to find out more about the vital research taking place at its Neuro-Oncology Research Centre and throw his weight behind the bid.

A recent e-petition calling for more funding initiated by Maria Lester, whose brother Stephen Realf died from a brain tumour, gained more than 120,000 signatures. The report from the House of Commons Petitions Committee will be debated in Parliament on Monday (April 18).

Dean of Research and Centre Head, Professor John Darling, and Professor Tracy Warr, a leading neuro-oncology researcher, met with Mr Marris to highlight issues around underfunding and the scientific work taking place to identify genetic causes of brain tumours and treatments. They were joined by Stephen’s father Peter Realf.

Professor Warr said the UK was losing promising researchers to other countries due to the lack of funding and more investment could have a significant impact.

She said: “Brain tumours grow very quickly and are very resistant to conventional therapies. We have made some exciting progress with our laboratory tests but extra research is needed to develop them further.”

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 and Professor Warr said official figures did not take into consideration metastases, where cancer from part of the body later spreads to another.

Mr Marris said: “I would like to see government funding for brain tumour research increased from its present very low level. We must bear in mind that generic cancer research findings are often not applicable to brain tumour cancers because of the physiological composition of brain tumours.”

Stephen, a promising trainee RAF pilot, died aged 26, and had been fit and well until his diagnosis. Peter Realf said he believed the University’s work was essential.

He said: “With other cancers, research has made a difference to survival rates but if you are diagnosed with a brain tumour little has changed over the last 30 years. Extra funding into research is much needed.”

Following their first-ever inquiry, the UK Government Petitions Committee published a ground-breaking report, Funding for research into brain tumours last month.

It highlighted the distressing experiences of people whose lives have been affected by brain tumours, as well as exploring the reasons behind the historic underfunding of research.

The University added its support to a campaign being led by Brain Tumour Research by co-signing an open letter published this week in The Times ahead of the debate.

The report can be read in full on the Petitions Committee website by following this link:


Brain tumours - the facts:

  • Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.
  • There are more than 120 different types of brain tumour.
  • Around 16,000 people a year are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour.
  • Unlike most cancers, brain tumour incidence is rising
  • Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with brain cancer survive beyond five years.


Picture shows (LtoR) Professor Tracy Warr, Peter Realf, whose son Stephen died from a brain tumour, Wolverhampton South MP Rob Marris and Dr Anushree Singh.

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