Padbury charity funds new breakthrough in battle against child cancer

But founder calls for government to pay for research as 112,000 sign petition demanding action

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 1:26 pm
Sue Farrington Smith, founder of Brain Tumour Research

Scientists funded by a Padbury charity claim to have found a new way to starve cancerous paediatric brain tumour cells of energy in order to prevent further growth.

The findings by Prof Silvia Marino and her team at the Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London, funded by Brain Tumour Research, could be a breakthrough in the way children are treated in future.

Brain Tumour Research was founded by Padbury woman Sue Farrington Smith, after losing her niece, Alison, to a brain tumour in 2001.

Prof Silvia Marino at work in the laboratory

She has today called for the government to pay for research, saying: "These families need a cure now."

More than 112,000 people have signed a petition demanding action.

The charity raises money to fund centres of excellence for brain tumour research at universities around the UK, as well as campaigning for more government spending on research on brain tumours.

Prof Marino's research refers to medulloblastoma, the most common high-grade brain tumour in children. The survival rate is 70 per cent for those whose tumour has not spread but it is almost always fatal in cases where it recurs.

Prof Marino said: “We have identified a novel way that Grade 4 medulloblastoma is able to adapt its metabolism and grow uncontrollably. Significantly, we have also shown how this energy supply can be blocked.

"These exciting results bring hope of developing new targeted treatments for patients with this aggressive paediatric brain tumour.”

Charity spokesman Hugh Adams said: “It is great news and brings some much-needed hope for the future. There is still some way to go but we hope that a clinical trial could be up and running in as little as two years.”

More than 112,000 people have signed a petition created by Brain Tumour Research, demanding action from the government to fund research to help find a cure.

A report being circulated to MPs today (Thursday, April 15) highlights the fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically, just one per cent of the national cancer spend has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Sue Farrington Smith said: “These families need a cure now, they don’t want to be told by their clinician to go and make memories. They deserve to be told what the treatment options are, treatments that will extend their loved ones’ lives by more than mere months.

“Now is the time to give hope to the thousands of families impacted by a brain tumour every year.”