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£1.5 million for clinical research brings new hope in the fight against brain tumours

£1.5 million from Barts Charity has been awarded to brain tumour researchers at Queen Mary University of London to extend their successful lab-based research into clinical trials with patients.

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Professor Silvia Marino
Professor Silvia Marino

16,000 people are diagnosed with a primary or secondary brain tumour each year, which kills more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed survive beyond five years, compared to 50 per cent of all other cancers.

The grant has been awarded to brain tumour expert Silvia Marino, Professor of Neuropathology at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute and Edward McKintosh, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust.

Professor Marino has pioneered research in her field, gaining international recognition, and is also the first female President of the British Neuro-Oncology Society.

Bringing scientific discoveries to patients

Professor Marino and her team of researchers will use the grant to build upon the success in basic science of the Brain Tumour Research Centre which is funded by the charity Brain Tumour Research and to work with clinicians to develop a clinical platform to take their discoveries to patients.

Working with Rachel Lewis, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, they will create infrastructure within the Trust’s hospitals to run clinical trials with brain tumour patients. This will vastly enhance the research into brain tumours that can take place and brings the translation of laboratory findings to patient treatments ever closer. It will also mean a significant increase in the amount of experimental treatments available to patients.

Just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours, meaning that funding by the charities has played an important role. Previous seed funding from Barts Charity and substantial support by Brain Tumour Research has allowed research projects to get up and running and attract larger funders.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms today toured the research facilities with Professor Marino and was joined by one of his constituents Lydia Fenny, who lost her friend Phil to a brain tumour.

World-leading research

Professor Silvia Marino from Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute says: “I am thrilled to have been awarded this funding from Barts Charity, which complements the support we are receiving from Brain Tumour Research and other sources. It will allow us to move faster from the bench to the bedside and offer more experimental treatments to brain tumour patients.”

Fiona Miller Smith, Chief Executive of Barts Charity says: “Professor Marino is a world-leading researcher in this important and underfunded area. By making this significant award, the Charity is supporting the extension of her laboratory work to accelerate the translation of beneficial scientific discoveries into patient care.”

Sue Farrington Smith Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research says: “We are proud to have provided the seed funding for this vital research. This grant by The Barts Charity represents an important step towards increasing the national investment for research into brain tumours to £30 - £35 million a year and brings hope to the thousands of patients diagnosed with a brain tumour each year, as well as their families.”

More information

Find out about our undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Neuroscience, based at Queen Mary's Blizard Institute.

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