THE charity Brain Tumour Research is increasing its work to help find a cure for childhood forms of the disease.
An investment of £144,000 is being made to increase the team at its Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University London (QMUL), where Professor Silvia Marino and her research group are studying the epigenetics of medulloblastoma. The research will also impact other childhood brain tumours, including ependymoma.
The funding has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from another charity, The Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation, which was set up by Cheryl and Paul Davis, whose son Miles was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of five. They joined forces with other parents, doctors, and researchers to raise awareness and fund research and became a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research, based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Cheryl from Bicester, Oxfordshire, said:
“Miles was one of the lucky ones, although it took us nine months of his vomiting and losing weight for us to finally get a diagnosis. He had surgery twice to remove an ependymoma brain tumour and had chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. We know that many other families are not so fortunate; brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.”
Miles, 16, who has a twin Edward, and another brother Lucas, 19, is now in his GCSE year at school. His mum added:
“We feel so lucky that Miles is a brain tumour survivor and is doing so well. So many families we came to know through his treatment have lost children. Of six kids all diagnosed around the same time as Miles, only two are left. One boy passed away just two years ago, which was very tough for Miles.”
Like many dealing with the devastation of a brain tumour diagnosis, the Davis family were shocked to learn how little research was taking place in the UK due to a lack of funding and that the treatment protocol for brain tumours had been written as long ago as 1999.
Nine years after starting their charity, they are winding it up and donating the balance of their fundraising to Brain Tumour Research. The money will fund a four-year PhD student to work with Prof Marino at QMUL.
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said:
“We are extremely grateful to The Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation for its enormous support and commitment to our cause. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”
Prof Marino said:
“These funds will increase our research capacity and enable our researchers to explore further breakthroughs in the fight against childhood brain tumours.”