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Widening the debate around treatment

We praise the launch of OurBrainBank’s new policy report and share how it ties in with our research strategy and innovations around treatment for glioblastomas.

Talking about treatment

OurBrainBank have unveiled a new White Paper entitled Glioblastoma: the neglected disease in the cancer treatment revolution. OurBrainBank are a patient-led charity aiming to move glioblastoma specifically from terminal to treatable. 

We know all too well the frustration amongst the community that brain tumours have not been given the attention that they deserve. A member of our Steering Committee for the creation of our new Strategy, Living Longer and Better commented that “brain tumours feel like the forgotten cancer”. There are lots of cancers that have seen considerable improvements in survival rates over the last forty years and yet brain tumour survival rates have stagnated.

The recommendations for better treatment

The report has looked at current treatment options for brain tumours, immunotherapy, tissue storage and whole genome sequencing making five recommendations:

  1. Universal frozen tissue storage with an attainable target for that being achieved to be set immediately

  1. Universal genomic sequencing for all glioblastoma (GBM) patients where tissue is available, with an attainable target for that being achieved to be set immediately

  1.  Specific, reliable GBM information for patients and carers on NHS and other official UK government websites

  1. An increase in the number of UK drug trials for GBM, with a stretch target to be set immediately

  1. Translational research, that is, treatment-focused research that promises early transition from ‘bench to bedside’, to be given funding priority.

What are we doing?

The well-researched report intends to generate debate around innovation in treatment for glioblastomas. The asks match parts of our research strategy as we seek to have at least two new treatments for brain tumours being investigated in clinical trials by 2027, as well as prioritising the launch of the Virtual Biotech which will help to fast track the development of new treatments.

We want to see universal frozen tissue storage, initiated as soon as possible.  To do this, we need to understand where the key barriers to this process are and if further capital investment will play a big part in solving it. If it will, then we need to be really clear on the benefits as we would be asking this of an NHS already overstretching its resources.

Some good news is that it is already a part of The Brain Tumour Charity funded Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX project for all patients participating.

For genomic sequencing, we are again supportive of the benefits that this can bring. However, there are still barriers within the system and we are keen to work with a variety of stakeholders to help unpick them and ensure that the maximum benefit is gained from its wider roll out and adoption.

It is great to see more reports on brain tumours, generating debate and meaningful conversations about how we can work together to move the needle and improve outcomes. By working together, we are sure to be greater than the sum of our parts, and it is ultimately the only way change can happen.

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