News story

Brain cancer research to receive £45 million funding

Brain tumour research in the UK to receive £45 million in funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and Cancer Research UK.

Cancer cells

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that an estimated £20 million in funding will be invested through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) over the next 5 years.

The funding will start with a formal call to research teams to put forward new proposals, to access NIHR funding in April.

In addition, Cancer Research UK will invest £25 million in research into brain tumours over the next 5 years. This is on top of £13 million each year on the research and development of cancer treatments.

Cancer Research UK’s funding will support 2 new specialised centres:

  • The Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, based at the University of Cambridge
  • The Institute of Cancer Research, London

These centres bring together world-leading experts to discover and develop new treatments to tackle brain tumours in children. A centre focusing on adult brain tumours will open later this year.

The funding announcement follows the publication of the report of the task and finish working group on brain tumour research, led by the government Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Chris Whitty.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

While survival rates for most cancers are at record levels, the prognosis for people with brain tumours has scarcely improved in over a generation. I am grateful to Baroness Jowell and other MPs who have campaigned with great dignity and courage to raise awareness of this issue.

Our ambition is to deliver a big uplift in the funding of brain cancer research, while galvanising the clinical and scientific communities to explore new avenues for diagnosis and treatment in the future. It is a chance to create a genuine step change in survival rates for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK Chief Executive, said:

Brain tumours remain a huge challenge, with survival barely improving over the last 30 years. Since we laid out our plans to tackle this challenge in 2014, Cancer Research UK has already substantially increased its funding into brain tumours and attracted some of the world’s leading experts to the UK.

This new funding will mean that we can accelerate these efforts further, by developing a critical mass of expertise in key areas and supporting work along the entire research pipeline to improve survival for children and adults with brain tumours.

Each year around 11,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour and just 14% of people survive their disease for 10 or more years.

Published 22 February 2018