Liverpool singer calls for more funding into brain tumour research

Garry Christian Photo: PA

A Liverpool singer is heading to Westminster today to call for more funding into brain tumour research. Garry Christian formed pop band 'The Christians' with brothers Roger and Russell in 1985, their debut album sold more than million copies but the band was put in hold in the mid 90's after Roger died of a brain tumour.

Now Garry is campaigning to save others. Today there is new hope for 16,000 people diagnosed with brain tumours each year as three new research partnerships are announced at Speaker's House today

Brain Tumour Research will establish mission seven Research Centres of Excellence across the UK, the charity is set to announce a partnership with three new research centres, paving the way for a £20 million investment in brain tumour research over the next five years.

The research centres are Queen Mary University, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (London) and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

The collaboration, which is announced today to MPs at a reception at Speaker's House, will create a network of successful brain tumour research centres throughout the UK. With secure long-term funding covering the key salaried positions within these centres, the researchers will be freed from the limitations and frustrations of applying for one specific project grant after another and instead will be able to pursue the sustainable and continuous research so desperately needed by the scientists and clinicians working in this underfunded field.

Promising scientists will be trained up through the ranks to fulfil their potential, rather than being tempted into other cancer research which currently attracts greater funding, and with it greater job security. As specialist brain tumour expertise and knowledge builds, those experienced researchers can then move between Centres to encourage cross-pollination of the very best thinking at the cutting-edge of brain tumour research.

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: "Along with our centre at the University of Portsmouth, the Centres will form a new and powerful network, collaborating with each other and other institutes, both within the UK and internationally, in order to accelerate progress in brain tumour research and make a clinical difference. All involved share a vision of a sustainable and secure research environment for brain tumours in the UK, ultimately creating better futures for all those diagnosed and living with a brain tumour. Only 18.8% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across other cancers. This statistic is better than it used to be, but brain tumours are still responsible for more years of life lost than any other form of cancer making it the most lethal form of cancer by this measure. But we are determined to do all we can to change this, and to one day find a cure for this devastating disease."

As the network of Centres grows, the charity will continually review the research landscape and activities of these institutes to ensure that the right teams and research priorities are in place, ensuring all 120+ types of brain tumours are being researched. They will seek to identify all causes of brain tumours, to understand every aspect of brain tumour behaviour and discover treatments that will improve outcomes for any and every brain tumour patient.

The Brain Tumour Research charity will continue to identify gaps in research and invite applications from other groups and centres with the specialist knowledge to fulfil the needs in what some Neuro-oncologists are calling "the last battleground against cancer".

Brain Tumours - the facts (source: Brain Tumour Research when using these statistics):

  • More children and adults under 40 die of a brain tumour than from any other cancer
  • Brain tumours receive less than 1% of the national spend on cancer research
  • 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Only 18.8% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across all cancer
  • Unlike most other cancers, incidences of deaths from brain tumours are becoming more prevalent (and are much more common now than in 1970