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All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours meets to break down barriers to a cure

On Tuesday 7 December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours held a virtual meeting to discuss current policy issues including setting out why a cure is desperately needed.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) was established in 2005 to raise awareness of the issues facing the brain tumour community in order to improve research, diagnosis, information, support, treatment and care outcomes.

In the group, MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum come together to support the whole brain tumour community and look towards solutions for the issues faced.

In this meeting, a number of individuals who’ve been personally affected by a brain tumour, through their own diagnosis or the experiences of their loved ones, shared their experiences and passion for change.

This included The Wanted’s Tom Parker, who spoke about his experience being diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma 18 months ago, reflecting on the gruelling treatment he has undertaken and the impact his treatment had on his wife and children.

International keynote and motivational speaker Dave Bolton shared his experience being diagnosed with a grade 2 astrocytoma in 2014, which progressed to a glioblastoma in 2015. Dave reemphasised the significant impacts of the treatment he has undergone and the toll it’s taken on this own physical and mental health.

A Young Ambassador’s lobbying experience

Jeremy, one of our Young Ambassadors, recently attended an online lobbying event organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer and wrote about his experience.

Discussions in the meeting centred on funding for research into brain tumour diagnosis and treatments, as well as the path many take to fundraise for private treatment in other countries. The issue of providing better support for those who have come to the end of their active treatment was also raised.

Dr Nicky Huskens from the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission provided an update on the work of the new Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence designation process across the UK, and the collaborative work being done to continue driving improvements in treatment and care.

Nine NHS hospital brain tumour centres were recognised as Centres of Excellence following the first round of rigorous expert-led assessments, which also involved feedback from 880 patients collected by The Brain Tumour Charity through our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys.

Sue Farrington Smith from Brain Tumour Research then provided an update on the ‘Pathway to a Cure – breaking down the barriers’ inquiry, launched in July 2021, for which The Brain Tumour Charity will be sitting on the panel.

This inquiry aims to bring clarity to the barriers preventing more funding from being invested in high-quality brain tumour research by scrutinising commitments made in recent years and assessing progress to these commitments, seeking evidence from patients, researchers and clinical experts.

We are extremely grateful to the individuals who spoke, MPs and other attendees who gave up their time to join the meeting and articulated so eloquently the need for a cure – as well as to Derek Thomas MP for chairing the APPGBT and Brain Tumour Research for providing the secretariat.