Latest figures from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) reveal the total national spend on cancer research allocated to research into brain tumours decreased to just 1.37% in 2015.
This news comes after the House of Commons Petitions Committee’s report earlier in the year, “Funding for research into brain tumours”, which stated that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades”.
“It was an incredible milestone for the brain tumour community to shine a light on this issue with the unprecedented success of the original e-petition, the Petitions Committee report and subsequent Parliamentary debate,” said Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of the charity Brain Tumour Research based in Shenley Wood.
“But we can’t stop there. We look forward to playing a key role in the Government working group to drive the Petitions Committee’s recommendations forward.
“We are calling for the national investment in brain tumour research to be increased to £30-£35 million per annum. 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.”
Health Minister George Freeman MP had formally accepted the Petitions Committee report, which has been described as “damning”, recognised the “extraordinary call from people for the disease to be given higher priority” and announced a new Task and Finish working group of clinicians, charities and officials to discuss how to address the need for more brain tumour research.
Liz Fussey, Regional PR Manager at Brain Tumour Research, whose brother is currently battling a brain tumour, said: “It is vital that more money is spent on research into what causes brain tumours, how they can be treated and, ultimately, a cure.
“It is outrageous to think that the amount of money spent on research has gone down.”
The NCRI figures will come as a shock to patients, carers, activists, charities, and politicians, as they prepare for a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours on Wednesday.
Leading neuro-oncology researcher Prof. Tracy Warr, from the University of Wolverhampton, will be among the speakers at Wednesday event.
“Funding for research in the UK is desperately needed,” she said.
“Unless we address the huge challenges faced by young research scientists who want to pursue a career in brain tumour research, we risk losing them to overseas research institutes or to other specialisms.”