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Petitions Committee report on research funding for brain tumours debated in House of Commons

Yesterday saw the Petitions Committee report on research funding into brain tumours debated by MP’s in Westminster Hall. Over 40 MPs spoke at the debate, with only standing room left as proceedings began.

Over 40 MPs spoke at the debate, with only standing room left as proceedings began.

There were many stories from those directly affected by brain tumours, praise for the HeadSmart awareness campaign and acknowledgment of all the incredible work done by everyone in the community.

“HeadSmart is incredibly informative and educates people,”
said Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North.

The petition has also again raised the profile of the issues around brain tumours and ensured that this remains an issue on the parliamentary agenda. 

George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences at Department of Health said the debate was a brilliant demonstration of cross party politics at its best in Westminster Hall.”

During the two-hour proceedings, there was universal acknowledgment of the continued lack of research funding into this devastating disease.

“Despite the work from scientists and clinicians, they’re working in an underfunded system,” said Helen Jones MP, chair of the Petitions Committee.

“And despite the excellent work of all doctors, it is a collective failure that has gone on under different governments.

“In the course of our research, we have been humbled and shocked at the pitiful amount of funding.”

George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, replying to the debate on behalf of the Government, said:

“I hope I have demonstrated that some progress is being made, but as I have said, I do not think that progress is being made is a reason not to do more.

“As the report recommends, I will be asking the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) to look at publishing a national register that considers how we spend public funds across research of different disease areas and different organs by therapeutic area, not least because it is a powerful way of helping to draw in co-investment from industry and charities.

“I shall be raising those issues with the MRC and, having recently convened the NIHR Parliament day, suggesting that at next year’s NIHR Parliament day we come back with that register and that breakdown of information.

“To pull all this together, I want to suggest that I should convene a ‘task and finish’ working group in the Department of Health to touch on other issues that have been raised, including data collection, trials, off-label drugs, research barriers and skills.

“Whilst I can’t just *find* money I want us to look at the many issues raised to see what can be done,” he said.

We are committed to investing £25m into pioneering research over the next five years

Our aim is to have the biggest possible impact for all people affected by a brain tumour and we will now continue to work with policy makers at the highest level to ensure that all the issues that face our community remain on the agenda.

In particular we are continuing to work with Public Health England though participation in the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service site specific group to promote the collection and use of cancer data in research.

We’re also united with The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the development of new guidance on the treatment of brain tumours.

We will also continue to work in collaboration with other organisations on issues where we share common aims.

If you have any questions about this aspect of our work please contact policy@thebraintumourcharity.org