Brain tumour research appeal: what will you give this Christmas?

Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre patient
01 Dec 2015 00:01:00.000

People are being urged to give an extra gift this Christmas – to fund life-saving research for children affected by deadly brain tumours.

The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at The University of Nottingham is launching a Christmas appeal aimed at raising £50,000 in charitable donations by the end of December.

The money would fund vital research into a pioneering treatment that targets cancer cells but without some of the unwanted side effects that can lead to life-changing disabilities for some children who survive brain tumours.

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A brighter future

Co-Director of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre Professor David Walker said: “Brain tumours are woefully underfunded and receive just 1.5 per cent of the £498 million of the national spend on cancer. We rely largely on charitable donations to fund the work that we do – research that can quite literally change the life of a child who is affected by this devastating disease.

“The good news is that more children than ever are surviving brain tumours. However, the treatment itself can be so aggressive it can lead to permanent brain damage that affects the patient for the rest of their lives. We are developing more targeted approaches which if successful could offer them the chance of a brighter future.”

Every year in the UK, brain tumours kill more children than any other type of cancer, accounting for more than one-third of all childhood cancer deaths.

Conventional chemotherapy drugs are given to children orally or through the blood stream in an attempt to slow down or kill cancer cells. However, the treatment also kills healthy cells leading to these damaging side effects.

Established in 1997, the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre brings together a multi-disciplinary team of leading healthcare professionals and researchers ─ all experts in their fields, and all committed to improving our understanding of childhood brain tumours.

Led by Professor Walker, the centre is pioneering the use of a new intrathecal drug delivery system that injects chemotherapy drugs directly into the spinal fluid or brain. Administering the drugs in this way targets tumours more effectively at a fraction of the toxicity, reducing the chance of nasty side effects for the patient.

Critical stage

By supporting the appeal this festive season, donors can help to fund the next year of the drug delivery programme and help make these targeted treatments a reality.

While significant work has been done pre-clinically, the research is at a critical stage and needs vital funds to allow it to move forward to begin recruiting patients for phase 1 clinical trials.

The appeal will help to cover a £50,000 shortfall needed to appoint a clinical researcher to work on the study and the materials required for the next phase of the project.

Verity Oliver is mum to Connor who has been treated at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 when he was just 11 years old.

She said: “I’ve watched my son deal with the effects of the chemo – the pain, the sickness, the stunted growth. I’m sure you will agree that’s more than any child should have to go through.

“This research gives me hope that one day my son could be able to live without the constant fear of having another tumour discovered. For me – and so many other mothers in my position – that would be the greatest Christmas gift of all.

The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre Christmas Appeal is being run through the wider University of Nottingham’s Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which aims to raise £200 million to change lives in Nottingham and around the world.

Donations to the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre’s Christmas Appeal can be made by online at or by calling +44 (0)115 951 3627.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

For more information please contact Professor David Walker in the University’s School of Medicine on +44 (0)115 823 1114,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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