Local charity donates £25,000 to UCLan for brain tumour research
BK’s Heroes will fund year-long investigation
Local charity BK’s Heroes has donated £25,000 to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to fund a brain tumour and Alzheimer’s disease research project.
The money will be used by UCLan’s neuro-oncology team to examine why people with Alzheimer’s disease rarely suffer from brain tumours and if it’s related to a particular protein that protects them.
UCLan senior lecturer in pharmacology Chris Smith commented: “We’re looking at a protein called beta-amyloid that builds up in the brain as Alzheimer’s disease progresses and, potentially, if this protein can somehow protect that person from developing a brain tumour.
“It’s an area that’s never really been examined. Despite more people suffering from brain tumours and Alzheimer’s disease as they get older, it’s very rare that both conditions overlap and that’s something we think is worth looking into. This money from BK’s Heroes will allow us to fund a year-long postgraduate research student to undertake a preliminary investigation, working closely with Royal Preston Hospital.”
"This money from BK’s Heroes will allow us to fund a year-long postgraduate research student to undertake a preliminary investigation, working closely with Royal Preston Hospital."
The University has worked with Burnley-based charity BK’s Heroes since 2016. It was set up as a fundraiser by Ben King in 2015 during his battle with renal failure and then a brain tumour. Ben passed away in February 2016 but his parents Dave and Fiona King, along with brother Dan, honoured his wish to continue fundraising and went onto gain charity status in 2016. So far, BK’s Heroes has raised more than £80,000.
Dave King commented: “There hasn’t been a breakthrough in brain cancer research for decades so to be part of this project feels right for the charity. It’s a new area that could potentially be ground-breaking so we’re excited to play our part.”
UCLan has undertaken neuro-oncology research since 2005 and was one of the founding members of Brain Tumour North West, a strategic alliance designed to consolidate and exploit clinical and research-based brain tumour expertise within the region. It also works with other local brain tumour charity In Between Ears on other funded research projects.
Dr Lisa Shaw, also a senior lecturer in pharmacology at UCLan, said: “Only a small percentage of government funding is given to brain tumour research so the support we get from BK’s Heroes and other local charities makes a big difference to the work we are able to undertake. We hope that the preliminary findings from this particular project will allow us to develop a PhD study so we can build on the research.”