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UCLan in exciting brain tumour research bid

11 November 2013

Press Office

Funding proposal submitted for new Research Centre of Excellence

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) hopes to be successful in its bid to become a new Centre of Excellence dedicated to research into brain tumours. If successful the University will enter a funding partnership with the charity Brain Tumour Research, defining a new chapter in long term sustainable research. Currently brain tumours receive less than 1% of the national spend on cancer research, despite more children and adults under 40 dying of a brain tumour than any other cancer.

Brain Tumour Research’s vision is to establish a network of seven brain tumour re-search centres throughout the nation, placing the UK at the forefront of research. The funding partnership will secure key salaried positions at the Centre of Excellence, freeing the team from the limitations of applying for one specific project grant after another. As specialist brain tumour expertise and knowledge builds across the seven centres, experienced researchers will be able to move between them, collaborating on best thinking at the cutting edge of research. It is anticipated that, with greater job security through sustained funding, promising researchers will be trained up through the ranks to fulfil their potential, rather than being tempted into other areas of cancer research which currently attract greater funding.

“We know that a cure for brain tumours can and will be found in our lifetimes and this funding boost might just facilitate the breakthrough that we have all been aiming for.”

UCLan’s Professor Bob Lea, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: “We know that a cure for brain tumours can and will be found in our lifetimes and this funding boost might just facilitate the breakthrough that we have all been aiming for. We were delighted to have the opportunity to bid for this support and to be considered is such a fantastic endorsement of our work. Our plan for the Centre of Excellence would enable the large group of scientists and clinicians currently working together on brain tumour research in Preston to fully establish programmes ranging from molecular biology through to clinical applications.

“But whether it is us or another institution that receives the money, this injection of funding into this woefully underfunded area of cancer research could not come at a better time.”

Internationally acclaimed scientific experts in the world of cancer research and neuro-oncology in particular are currently reviewing the applications. Brain Tumour Re-search will announce the name of the successful institution in November.

Brain Tumour Research is currently supporting a Centre of Excellence based in The University of Portsmouth, which is the biggest brain tumour laboratory in the UK. Here a dedicated team is looking at the mechanisms that cause tumour cells to invade healthy brain tissue, with the aim that this work will improve survival times for patients and potentially, one day, lead to a cure.

“We will continue to encourage the public to support us, as well as lobbying for a larger share of UK cancer research funding, with the aim that one day we will be able to defeat this disease that claims many more lives than it should.”

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Opening a second Centre of Excellence will significantly increase the chances of a researcher having that ‘eureka moment’ which could dramatically improve outcomes for brain tumour patients. Only 18.8% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across other cancers, and we are determined to do all we can to change this.

“Helping to raise the £7 million a year needed to run seven Centres of Excellence will be a huge challenge, but we are backed by thousands of loyal and committed fundraisers. We will continue to encourage the public to support us, as well as lobbying for a larger share of UK cancer research funding, with the aim that one day we will be able to defeat this disease that claims many more lives than it should.”

Brain Tumour Research was launched in April 2009 to raise the awareness of and funding for scientific research into brain tumours and improve outcomes for brain tumour patients. It is the only national charity in the UK that is dedicated to granting 100% of its funds to continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours.