News story

Government announces £40 million for brain cancer research in honour of Tessa Jowell

The funding is double the original amount and will be used to encourage new research and clinical practice to improve outcomes for people with brain tumours.

Test tubes in a laboratory

The government pledged £40 million investment in the Dame Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Research Mission as part of a package of measures.

The measures include:

  • doubling the government research fund to £40 million - part of a £65m research package launched this year

  • starting to use gold standard dye across the UK - this dye is used to identify brain tumours during surgery and is currently only used in half of brain cancer centres in England

  • speeding up the use of adaptive trials - to test different treatments at the same time and speed up the process

  • an annual global conference to bring together world experts on brain cancer, to be hosted by the government

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Research Mission will meet several of Baroness Jowell’s campaign requests. It follows on from a meeting between Dame Tessa, the prime minister and the health secretary in Downing Street in February.

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.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Tessa Jowell was one of those few politicians who could inspire and unite across party lines. We were all moved by her bravery and selfless campaigning in her final months, and are determined to honour her life and memory with the action on brain cancer that she fought so hard for.

At this agonising time, I hope her family can draw comfort from the fact that her legacy will be lives saved and heartbreak averted for thousands of other families.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy will lead the work to implement these commitments. He said:

I’m deeply saddened by Tessa’s death. Despite her dreadful illness, she did more than anyone to shine a light on the need to improve research and care for people with brain cancer.

It is a great privilege and honour to take forward this work. My aim is to boost research into treatments - even cures - for brain cancer and transform care for patients in the way that Tessa called for.

Published 14 May 2018