The debate follows a landmark summit on brain tumours in London in February, triggered by Baroness Tessa Jowell’s experience following her own diagnosis last year
The summit brought together leading experts in brain tumours and Government ministers to discuss the key areas in which progress can be made, including the harnessing of data and an increase in ‘adaptive’ clinical trials which allow patients to move more quickly from one experimental therapy regime to another.
Time for the Commons debate was granted by the Backbench Business Committee after a request from Sarah Jones (pictured far right), who represents the Croydon Central constituency.
The debate will call for greater sharing of health data and more adaptive clinical trials to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.
She said: “We have all been so impressed, but not at all surprised, at the resilience and campaigning energy of Tessa in the face of her own illness. It is right that the House has a proper opportunity to pay tribute to her by debating the issues that she has cares so passionately about.
“At the round table, many issues around treatment and patient experience were brought up. The need for better data sharing around the world so that clinical trials can involve more people was a key part of the debate. We need more adaptive clinical trials with greater accessibility for patients.
“During her moving speech in the House of Lords in January, Tessa said she was fearful that some of the innovative approaches we need to tackle brain tumours may be put into the ‘too difficult box.’
“We cannot let this happen. It is now our responsibility to ensure that Tessa’s vision is fulfilled, so that more people with brain tumours can live longer and better lives.”
In 2017, a survey by The Brain Tumour Charity found that 97% of those living with a brain tumour would be happy to share their data to accelerate the development of new treatments and to help inform other patients in a similar position.
The Charity is now developing BRIAN (Brain tumouR Information and Analysis Network), a databank underpinned by patient consent, which will bring together medical records with reported patient experience to help accelerate research and improve patient experience.
Sarah Lindsell, The Charity’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased that MPs will have the opportunity to pay tribute to Baroness Jowell, who has done so much since her own diagnosis to further the debate on issues that matter for brain tumour patients.
“We know that a cure can’t wait for those affected by this devastating disease. A step-change is needed, both in how health data is shared and how clinical trials are developed.
“We hope that this debate will serve as a key milestone on our journey to improve outcomes.”
The motion to be debated by MPs is:
That this House pays tribute to the work of Baroness Tessa Jowell in her campaign for people with brain tumours to live better lives for longer; recognises the Government’s increased funding for research and calls on the Government to increase the sharing of health data and promote greater use of adaptive clinical trials.
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