A total of £40 million for brain tumour research was promised in 2018 and was a cause for optimism.
It also heralded a very welcome shift in focus.
Historically, research into brain tumours has been underfunded, receiving just one percent of the national spend on cancer research since records began
However, our investigations have revealed a concerning lack of deployment of these funds, with just £15million reaching the hands of researchers in the five years since it was promised.
The stark fact remains that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
What I have heard is the current system is too complicated. It doesn’t connect laboratory work with what is happening in clinics. There is no up-to-date and robust database for people to understand if they are eligible for clinical trials.
And far too little of the money previously promised has reached the hands of researchers who can make a difference.
I firmly believe the Government wants to fund brain tumour research and the researchers clearly want funding. So there is supply and there is demand. But the mechanism for this to function as an effective market system is broken.
The spirit of our inquiry was to seek out the root of this breakage and, with positive intent, identify solutions to the blockages that affect the ability of the scientific and clinical communities to advance options for those affected by this devastating disease.
As one clinician told me: “Every week I have to tell patients that there is nothing more we can offer.
“I have been a consultant for 10 years and these conversations are the same now as when I started. I do not want to be having the same conversations in 10 years’ time.”
Today’s debate is about amplifying the voice of brain tumour patients and their families, who do not have the luxury of time.
For those in the brain tumour community, this is an emergency.
Having seen the remarkable speed at which joined-up thinking led to successful treatments for Covid-19, I believe much could be achieved if the Government treated brain tumour research as a critical priority.
It must act now, appoint a cross-departmental champion and ring fence £110million of current and new funding for discovery, translational and clinical research
We must recognise a uniquely complex disease and combat it with a unique response.
This post is originally appeared on Express UK