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Collaborating in Scotland to accelerate a cure for brain tumours

An update from our Policy and Campaigns team following an exciting week in Scotland.

Scottish flag flying in the wind representing the developments in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Members of our Policy and Campaigns team were recently in Scotland and we’re delighted to share some of our exciting work. It’s certainly been a busy time as we work to improve outcomes for those diagnosed with a brain tumour in Scotland. Recently we:

Meeting with the Scottish Steering Committee

We originally formed the Scottish Steering Committee (SSC) in 2017. The SSC was established to drive our policy, campaigning and influencing work in Scotland.

We recently came together to decide the SSC’s focus for the next two years and united behind three ambitious objectives:

  1. Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in Scotland.
  2. Establishing a diagnostic tool for brain tumours.
  3. Creating a diagnostic pathway for brain tumours and NHS Scotland implementing it.

Read our blog post to find out more about this meeting and how we’re planning on achieving these objectives.

Attending the Scottish Cancer Conference

We also attended the Scottish Cancer Conference, where we met with key stakeholders from across the cancer care community. The focus was the new Scottish Cancer Strategy and the theme was – “Ten years in the future, what does success look like?”

A particular highlight was a breakout session held by the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce (LSCT), of which we are a founding member. The session, hosted by Lorraine Dallas of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, served as an introduction to the LSCT and the work we do.

However, its core focus was on the early results from the LSCT’s recent survey on palliative care experiences. Themes that have begun to emerge include:

  • the importance of feeling listened to
  • frustration linked to a lack of coordination
  • positive feedback around experiences related to hospices.

More information on the palliative survey results will follow soon. We’re excited to continue working with our LSCT colleagues to improve palliative care experiences.

During the Scottish Cancer Conference, there was also an interesting Q&A between Cancer Research UK CEO Michelle Mitchell and the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care in Scotland Michael Matheson. The focus of the Q&A was the Scottish Cancer Strategy that the Scottish government earlier this year.

Notably for us, the Cabinet Secretary mentioned the priority of improving survival rates for those affected by a less survivable cancer. We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish government to make this a reality.

Collaborating with Dxcover

Following the SSC’s decision to work towards achieving a faster and earlier diagnosis for those affected by brain tumours in Scotland, we met with Dxcover. Dxcover are a clinical stage liquid biopsy company based in Scotland and has developed a blood test for the early detection of cancers. We hope this test can be used to detect brain tumours earlier and will lead to improved survival and quality of life.

Our Director of Policy & Strategy, Cameron Miller and Scottish Steering Committee Member, Donald Innes at the Dxcover lab. We recently met with Dxcoer to learn how their work could help people with a suspected brain tumour receive a faster diagnosis.

Dxcover are currently working in collaboration with University of Edinburgh to run a €2.3 million brain cancer diagnosis study. The study is operating across seven centres in Europe to understand the effectiveness and viability of their diagnostic tool.

Dxcover, kindly provided us and SSC members with the opportunity to see their technology first-hand at their lab which was an amazing experience.

Here’s our Director of Policy & Strategy, Cameron Miller and Scottish Steering Committee Member, Donald Innes at the Dxcover lab.

Planning our upcoming Dxcover roundtable

As a part of our relationship with Dxcover, we’re collaborating to host a roundtable in early February 2024.

The roundtable will bring together key stakeholders including healthcare practitioners from primary and secondary care, policy makers and influencers, cancer network leaders, Government officials and other interested parties.

The aim of the roundtable is to:

  • discuss how liquid biopsy tests, such as Dxcover’s, can be adopted into current and future diagnostic pathways
  • understand the barriers that exist to a brain tumour diagnosis
  • discuss how we can help improve the brain tumour referral pathway in Scotland.

We’re very much looking forward to the discussion and hope to share more details of any results following the event.

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