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A unique opportunity to engage with our world-leading research

Last week, our first lab tour of 2020 gave some of our supporters a chance to witness our funded research first-hand.

Professor Denise Sheer, one of our renowned clinical researchers, hosted the day at The Blizard Institute, part of Barts and The London School of Medicine, in London.

Denise’s two main project areas of work include SIGNAL – Striking Insensitive Paediatric Gliomas through Network AnaLysis (model development and data integration), and for The Everest Centre for Research into Paediatric Low Grade Brain Tumours.

Denise said: “Thank you so much for organising the lab tours. It’s really important for our lab to meet people affected by a brain tumour, and to show them the approaches we use to improve our understanding of how the tumours arise and grow. 

“We especially like to discuss our research with them, and find out what matters to them and hear their questions, e.g. how will our research help to develop new forms of treatment?

“When we started our research in this field, there was very little awareness of brain tumours amongst the general public. The Brain Tumour Charity and the HeadSmart campaign have done so much to overcome this.

“In our lab, we take every opportunity to bring students taking our medical degree and MSc in Neuro-Oncology, as well as gap year students, into our brain tumour research programme. 

“They always show commitment and enthusiasm, and make excellent contributions to the work and they also meet the visitors on our lab tours and participate fully in the discussions. 

“Ultimately, all of us in the lab are responsible to the public for everything we do, so it’s a pleasure to be able to meet people who want to know more about our research.”

Chantal Smits, an ex-neurosurgery anaesthetic practitioner at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, attended. Chantal now works on Harley Street and is one of our Young Ambassadors living with a brain tumour diagnosis herself.

Chantal said: “It was a brilliant afternoon spent touring the wonderful Blizzard Institute in London- it’s so reassuring as a patient to know that such effort is being made to find cures.

“It’s great to have an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of the research labs, especially projects funded by The Brain Tumour Charity.

“We learnt about the intricacies of Paediatric Low Grade Gliomas from the brilliant team lead by Denise Sheer and it was amazing to see some isolated chromosomes under a microscope!

As both a patient and a practitioner, it was an experience that I will never forget and I’m grateful for all the opportunities to see the research first-hand.”

Hannah Kinsell, also one of our Young Ambassadors, said of the tour: ”I thought it was incredible. It was amazing to see so many enthusiastic scientists working to find a cure and to be reminded that the money raised toward the charity is making a real difference.”