The Recent Discussion in Parliament About the Desperate Need for Brain Tumour Research Funding – The Important Bits

Funding for research into brain tumours: Government Response to the Petitions Committee’s First Report of Session 2015–16

Petitions Committee

The Petitions Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to consider e-petitions submitted on and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons.

Current membership:

Helen Jones MP (Labour, Warrington North) (Chair), Steve Double MP (Conservative, St. Austell and Newquay), Ian Blackford MP (Scottish National Party, Ross, Skye, and Lochaber), Jim Dowd MP (Labour, Lewisham West and Penge), Oliver Dowden MP (Conservative, Hertsmere), Paul Flynn MP (Labour, Newport West), Ben Howlett MP (Conservative, Bath), Mr Nick Hurd MP (Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner), Catherine McKinnell (Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne North), David Mackintosh MP (Conservative, Northampton South) and Paul Scully MP (Conservative, Sutton and Cheam)

The full report is available at the following link:

The Important Bits (As far as I can see anyway!)

  • The government stated ‘Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, including brain tumours, is a priority for this Government.’
  • The government stated’Improving early diagnosis of cancer is a priority for this Government’……’We agree that early diagnosis is crucial for improving cancer outcomes as a whole.’
  • Issues/concerns raised: ‘Brain tumour research has been seriously underfunded over decades, putting it far behind many other cancers in terms of the improvements in outcomes for patients. The Committee has heard evidence which suggests that there is a correlation between the amount of funding of research into a specific cancer and improved survival rates and/or reduced incidences. It is clear that existing levels of funding have not been sufficient for researchers to be able to make significant advances in their understanding of this devastating disease. Increased investment into research into the causes of brain tumours and into potential treatments is urgently needed.’
  • The government stated: ‘The Government agree that an increase in the level of brain tumour research is crucial in order to achieve better outcomes for patients and their families. We are committed to work to achieve this in partnership with medical research charities, the NHS and industry.’
  • Issues/concerns raised:’The Committee welcomes the recent commitments by both Cancer Research UK and Children with Cancer to prioritise brain tumours as a cancer of ‘unmet need’. Nevertheless, responsibility for ensuring that gaps in research funding are filled cannot rest solely with the voluntary sector. The Government must take responsibility for identifying unmet needs in research funding and taking action to rectify them.’
  • Issues/concerns raised: ‘Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and young people. In terms of the number of life years lost, it is the most fatal of all cancers. The unique position of the brain has a huge impact on treatment and quality of life for patients. Its classification as a rare cancer conceals the serious societal impact that brain tumours have. Current levels of funding for brain tumour research are not commensurate with the burden of the disease. The Government should take a greater lead in ensuring that this burden is taken into account when research funding is prioritised.
  • The government stated ‘The Government agree that a greater level of brain tumour research is urgently needed so that patients can experience better outcomes. Our response to the Committee’s recommendations sets out our commitment to working with patients, charities, the NHS, academia and industry to further develop and sustain a health research environment where brain tumour research can thrive and increase.’
  • The government stated ‘As announced in the House of Commons debate on the e-petition on 18 April, the Minister for Life Sciences will be convening a working group of clinicians, charities and officials to discuss how working together with our research funding partners, we can address the need for more brain tumour research.’

You can find more ‘important bits’ by clicking the link at top this page and viewing the full report.


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