£1.5m partnership will fight childhood and adolescent brain tumours

Teenage patient at the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre
05 Sep 2012 13:57:17.050
PA 243/12

A leading national brain tumour charity is joining forces with experts at The University of Nottingham in a £1.5 million partnership to fight brain tumours in children. 

Brain Tumour UK has pledged £750,000 to support the work of experts at the University’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, funds which have been matched by a further £750,000 from the University to support this priority research area as part of Impact: The Nottingham Campaign to raise £150 million by 2015.

The funding will enable the centre to expand on three vital areas of research into brain tumours in children — the underlying biology of brain tumours, the development and delivery of new drugs to treat them and the long-term impact they can have on society.
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Professor Colin Blakemore, President of Brain Tumour UK, said: “We are very excited to be joining with the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at The University of Nottingham and becoming part of its history of excellence.

“We hope that the funding from Brain Tumour UK will help to take the centre’s research to even more impressive new heights.”

Signature contributions

The University of Nottingham’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, said: “Nottingham’s vision is to be internationally recognised for our signature contributions including those in children’s brain tumour research. This generous funding from Brain Tumour UK is a fantastic endorsement of our work and a vital resource to enable us to deliver world-changing research.”

Professor David Walker, Paediatric Oncologist and co-Director of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, said: “We have faced the difficult facts of childhood brain tumours and have committed ourselves to tackling them. We have already made measurable progress and this funding will enable us to focus on the main research priorities for this devastating childhood illness.”

Brain tumours are a major cause of cancer-related deaths in childhood and adolescence, overtaking leukaemia. Indeed, 10,000 life years are lost each year and 12,000 disability life years gained. Thanks to improvements in diagnosis and treatment, due to high profile fundraising campaigns, the outcome for children diagnosed with leukaemia is much improved. However the situation for children with brain tumours is quite different for a number of different reasons.

Strategic research

The latest funding will allow the centre to focus its efforts in three main areas:

• The genetic basis and origins of brain tumours, understanding the full range of biological factors driving the development and behaviour of brain tumours (their molecular fingerprint) their sensitivity or resistance to treatment; and the identification of targets for novel therapy and biomarkers to allow ‘personalised’ treatment.

• Improve effectiveness of drug treatments by developing more refined and representative pre-clinical brain tumour model systems; optimising drug delivery across Blood Brain Barrier and integrated testing within clinical trials’ programmes.

• The economic impact of brain tumours, which involves working with health epidemiologists and economists to look at the longer term economic effect on society of the disabilities that affect 60 per cent of survivors after treatment.

Professor Richard Grundy said: “This transformative programme funding will secure and further enhance CBTRC’s leading international role in translational brain tumour research.”

High impact 

Brain Tumour UK Chair Andy Foote said: “By joining with the University’s Impact Campaign, it offers us the chance to make the most of the funds that our supporters have so generously invested and gives us the opportunity to get an incredible bang for our buck.”

The University’s Impact Campaign aims to raise more than £150 million over the next four years for a series of high-impact projects on the local, national and global stage.

The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre is being supported as part of the campaign’s Health and Wellbeing theme, one of five themes, which aim to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Further information on how to get involved with fundraising for this and other projects as part of the Impact: The Nottingham Campaign is available from Emma Pearson, Senior Development Manager (Health) at The University of Nottingham, on 0115 951 3724 or by email at emma.pearson@nottingham.ac.uk

 — Ends —

Established in 1997, the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre has worked within the media, Parliament and national groups to raise awareness of the inequalities for funding for research into children’s brain tumours — brain tumours account for six per cent of all cancers, yet receive only one per cent of the national cancer research spending in the UK.

The Centre is led by Co-Directors Professor Richard Grundy, who helps lead Europe’s research in ependymoma, having just been awarded £1m for a new international trial in this disease, and Professor Walker, who helps lead Europe’s research into low-grade glioma, the commonest brain tumour in childhood.

Professor David Walker chaired the group who developed a national guidance document for a national network of children’s brain tumour centres linking specialist teams in children’s neurosurgery and children’s cancer care, supported by the Department of Health. This document was published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 1997, the same year as the launch of Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre fundraising campaign by The University of Nottingham.

To-date, the centre has published more than 240 articles, many of them in prestigious and influential specialist journals including Nature, Lancet, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology.

Three recent major breakthroughs have been:

• Identifying genes responsible for ependymoma as well as nine different sub-types of ependymoma, a common childhood brain tumour.
• Developing a method to model cells cultures in 3D to allow research on tumours that more closely replicate growth in the body.

• Reporting an international literature review of signs and symptoms of childhood brain tumours which formed the basis for the current public and professional awareness campaign called HeadSmart Be Brain Tumour Aware, seeking to speed up the time from symptom onset to diagnosis (www.headsmart.org.uk).

Brain Tumour UK is working towards a world free of the fear of brain tumours.

We give help today and provide hope for tomorrow. We do this by delivering breakthrough support, information and research on the path to the cure.

Brain Tumour UK has a range of services that cover online, telephone, text and face-to-face support, as well as counselling and information provision in a wide variety of forms. We facilitate knowledge sharing between people who are affected by brain tumours in different ways in order to counter feelings of isolation and ease people’s fears. We do this through our support groups, moderated web forums and our busy social networks on Facebook and Twitter.

With the support of thousands of generous donors and fundraisers, Brain Tumour UK funds ground breaking scientific research to improve the quality of life for brain tumour patients, identify better treatments and, ultimately, find the cure.

Brain Tumour UK works closely with patients, their families, healthcare professionals, scientists and related organisations to raise awareness amongst key decision-makers, service providers and the wider public, to change things for the better for everyone affected by a brain tumour. 

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news


Story credits

More information is available from Professor David Walker on +44 (0)115 823 0629, david.walker@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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