Joint letter asks Government to prioritise cancer in Brexit negotiations

Tuesday 20 March 2018

The Brain Tumour Charity's Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Lindsell, has signed a joint letter to Government ministers alongside 18 other cancer charity CEOs

The joint letter is addressed to Jeremy Hunt MP, The Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, and Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and calls for “regulatory alignment with the EU on clinical trials and drug licensing" after the UK's departure from the European Union.

The letter goes on to say: “The Government must make progress on this soon – and must send a clear message to patients that there will be no delay in access to these life-saving cancer drugs after we leave the European Union".

A particular area of concern for The Brain Tumour Charity is on cross-border clinical trials. In many rare and childhood cancers, patient populations are too small to conduct clinical trials solely in the UK, meaning cross-border trials are carried out under the EU's Clinical Trials Directive, an EU wide regulation, in order to maximise patient populations. This vital practice currently hinges on regulatory alignment between EU member states.

Researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital are currently leading on a pan-EU trial, co-funded by The Brain Tumour Charity and Cancer Research UK, which tests treatments in children affected by diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG). This co-funded trial is recruiting children from across Europe to provide a sufficient number of participants to provide meaningful data. Almost half of the 150 children recruited to the trial over a four year period will be recruited in France.

Our CEO, Sarah Lindsell said: "cross-border cooperation is absolutely crucial to our vision to defeat brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK. This is why we want to see the Government negotiate an arrangement of regulatory alignment with the EU clinical trials regulation and the European Medicines Agency to ensure that vital research can continue.

A cure can't wait for those diagnosed with a brain tumour, and Brexit must not halt the vital progress we are making."