The UK’s first wholly accessible brain tumour tissue bank is being launched on 20th September thanks to the fundraising efforts of one of brainstrust’s supporters, Anita Smith.
The brain tumour tissue bank, to be housed at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, will be the first of its kind to act as a repository of clinical information for all scientific, academic and commercial researchers across the UK. This means that, for the first time, researchers from any organisation, irrespective of location, will be able to directly access tissue to test for sensitivity to chemotherapy, for genetic links and to identify key markers for treatment that will, it is hoped, increase treatment options for future patients.
Anita Smith, whose sterling fundraising work on behalf of her daughter Charlotte, who died in 2008 aged 16 from an aggressive brain tumour, has made this project possible, says, “This unique brain tumour tissue bank will allow better translation of complicated science into treatment for patients such as Charlotte. We are thrilled that through our fundraising, and with the support of brainstrust, we are able to leave a legacy that will help future generations of brain tumour patients across the UK.”
Professor Anthony Chalmers, Chair of Clinical Oncology at the University of Glasgow, and the project lead, says, “We hope this resource will transform research into brain tumours and serve as a source of material for researchers in the community throughout the UK. The heterogeneity (lack of uniformity) of brain tumours means that we need to understand the challenges and possibilities of personalised medicine – this brain tumour tissue bank is one step on our way to achieving this.”
Brainstrust director, Helen Bulbeck, adds, “By choosing to invest the money that Anita Smith and her amazing ‘Charlotte Smith Fund of Hope’ has raised into the tissue bank, this unique resource will give patients across the UK an even better chance in the future of specific treatments for their brain tumour. As there is no structured research base currently in existence for brain tumours, despite brain cancer killing more children than any other illness, all efforts to bring together research options are vital. We really look forward to working closely with the University of Glasgow and the Southern General Hospital as this project develops. We will be monitoring the outcomes of the tissue bank closely and will continue to distribute news as we receive it.”
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Notes to editors:
The launch will take place on 20th September with further details to follow.
brainstrust, the Meg Jones brain cancer charity, creates solutions for people with brain tumours, as well as saving lives. The charitable trust is dedicated to improving proactive care for brain tumour sufferers and providing coordinated support in their search for treatment. Over 500 families to date have benefited from brainstrust support in their battle against brain tumours.
brainstrust was founded in 2006 after the charitable trust’s icon, Meg Jones, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 19. Meg subsequently underwent successful neurosurgery for the removal of the tumour in Boston, USA, during the summer of 2007.
For more information, visit: www.brainstrust.org.uk
About the Charlotte Smith Fund of Hope
Anita Smith’s twin daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in May 2007, just four days after her 16th birthday. The surgeon who operated on Charlotte told us that the prognosis was poor. Seven months later, while on chemotherapy, she was diagnosed with a second brain tumour. Charlotte began a new treatment in March 2008. Very sadly she lost her battle against this wicked disease after such amazing courage and bravery on 21st April 2008, exactly one month before her 17th birthday. Through her ‘Fund for Hope’ Charlotte’s battle continues to help others. This was one of her wishes – one thing you learn is that you never stop looking for a cure. So far the fund has raised over £40,000 which brainstrust is using to support research into brain tumours.
About the Southern General Hospital and the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank
Based at the Southern General Hospital and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, the Neuro-Oncology service in Glasgow supports a patient population of approximately 3million people across the west of Scotland. The service has a strong tradition of research and development and recent academic appointments have strengthened its position as one of the leading centres for brain tumour treatment and research in the UK. The GGC BioRepository is part of the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GGC) and forms part of the Scottish Executive funded Scottish Academic Health Science Collaboration and is protected by a robust system of governance. The NHS GGC has also developed a generic system of patient consent for the use of surplus tissue for research.
The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank is intended to be a resource for medical, academic and commercial researchers across the UK and to be open to a wide range of research interests where brain tumour tissue is required. These projects may be in the fields of basic and applied biomedical science, drug discovery and development, translational medicine, pharmacology or diagnosis. Researchers will use human samples in different ways to understand the mechanisms responsible for brain tumour development and to investigate new ways to prevent, treat or even cure these diseases.
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