Top-level brain tumour summit to follow Tessa Jowell’s call for change

Monday 12 February 2018

Our Chief Executive, Sarah Lindsell, and our Chief Scientific Officer, David Jenkinson, will be among global brain tumour experts and campaigners meeting government ministers later this month to discuss progress against brain tumours

They will attend a top-level summit in London following Tessa Jowell's calls for action to improve brain tumour survival for everyone affected by the disease, after her own glioblastoma diagnosis.

The meeting will be chaired jointly by health ministers Lord O'Shaughnessy, who oversees government life sciences policy, and Steve Brine, who has responsibility for cancer policy.

Discussions will focus on four areas including the state of the UK brain tumour landscape as well as the global picture relating to clinical trials and scientific understanding of the disease.

Baroness Jowell is due to attend the meeting, alongside Dr Ronald DePinho, director of the Eliminate Cancer Initiative - the organisation she described last month in her speech to the House of Lords as 'reason for hope'.

Among the leading brain tumour experts contributing to the event are Professor Richard Gilbertson, Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre and chair of our Scientific Advisory Board; Professor Stefan Pfister from the German Cancer Research Centre; Professor Susan Short from the University of Leeds; Dr Steven Pollard from Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and Dr Colin Watts from the University of Cambridge.

The initiative has the backing of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who will meet Baroness Jowell and Dr DePinho ahead of the round-table meeting to discuss the way forward.

Mr Blair, who has known Baroness Jowell for many years as a personal friend as well as a political colleague, said: “Tessa's extraordinary campaigning zeal remains undiminished.

“I applaud her ambitious efforts, alongside all these expert groups and talented individuals, who are striving to fight this terrible disease and give sufferers hope for the future.

“I will support this cause in any way I can."

Baroness Jowell said: “I am heartened by the level of support from within government for the efforts of the ECI, The Brain Tumour Charity and the research community globally to bring about real change for everyone affected by the disease.

“To have Tony alongside us in this campaign, both as a friend and as a long-time ally in many professional arenas, is an enormous boost."

Sarah Lindsell said: “We know that collaboration is key to progress in the global effort to defeat brain tumours.

“We look forward to working on behalf of our community with all of those around the table at the meeting later this month,, to accelerate progress towards the goals we share: improving survival and reducing the harm caused by the disease."