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New centre for brain tumour research

Plans for the UK’s first dedicated laboratory-based brain tumour research centre will take a step closer today.

The University of Portsmouth is joining forces with brain tumour charity, Brainstrust and other partners to create a centre of excellence for brain tumour research on the South Coast.

Brain tumours are the most lethal and devastating tumours. They are the most common cause of death in children after accidents and the most common form of cancer in people under 40.

The new centre will focus entirely on dedicated laboratory-based brain tumour research in both adults and children.

Professor of Cellular & Molecular Neuro-oncology, Geoff Pilkington, who is leading the research team at Portsmouth, is chairing an open day at the University today to showcase the current facilities and to introduce major collaborators to the University.

Attendees include cricketer Alan Igglesden, the former Kent and England fast bowler, who was first diagnosed with a brain tumour several years ago. He is currently receiving treatment by Professor Pilkington and has long been a supporter of his work.

He and other brain tumour patients will hear about the current neuro-oncology research projects at Portsmouth and about the latest research in the field such as the development of new drug delivery systems to the brain.

Representatives from neurosurgical centres and charities which are currently funding research at the University will also attend, including leading brain tumour charities such as Ali’s Dream, Brain Tumour UK, and Charlie’s Challenge. Other attendees include senior clinical neuro-science staff from Southampton General Hospital and trustees, patrons and key supporters of Brainstrust.

Professor Pilkington said: “The aim of the collaboration between Brainstrust and Portsmouth University is to fund new specialist staff in neuro-oncology to further our research and to raise funds to buy equipment and provide essential running costs.”

Dr Helen Bulbeck is director and co-founder of Brainstrust, the Meg Jones tumour charity. She said: “Brain cancer research attracts relatively very little funding compared to other cancers, such as breast, bowel, lung and prostate. This is why raising awareness through this open day is so important.”

It is anticipated that several clinical leading neuro-oncology centres will provide vital tissues and clinical experience while the University will provide medical research programmes, training courses and a state of the art laboratory.

Those already on-board include Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre, Hayward's Heath, Maidstone NHS Hospitals, King's College Hospital, London & Charing Cross Hospital and the Institute of Neurology in London.

Professor Pilkington said that the centre would encourage institutions to collaborate in order for patients to benefit from a research informed environment.

Lisa Egan | alfa
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