The PPR Foundation Brain Tumour Research Project

The laboratory at St James’s Hospital in Leeds is the only one in Yorkshire dedicated to brain tumour research and is led by Professor Susan Short.

The cause of brain tumours is, as yet, unknown making them very difficult to treat. Funding for research is scant and currently, brain tumour research receives less than 1% of national Cancer Research spending in the UK. This statistic is absolutely shocking, particularly as the occurrence of brain tumours continues to rise year on year.

Many millions of pounds have been ploughed into research into other cancers; funding for brain tumour research lags woefully behind – some would say as much as 35 years. Research into this awful "forgotten cancer" must be stepped up. Please help us to bring brain tumour research into the 21st Century.

Professor Susan Short

Brain tumours remain one of the most challenging cancers to treat with a very poor outlook in most patients.

The UK incidence has increased by 40% since the 1970’s; across Yorkshire and the Humber at least 1,000 patients are diagnosed each year, with around 50 of these being children. Brain tumours are the commonest cause of cancer death in patients under 40 years of age and are responsible for an average 20 years of life lost per patient, dwarfing the effect of many other common cancers.

Brain tumour research at Leeds

The neuro-oncology group at Leeds University established in 2011 is a unique example of a centre that has benefitted from a fully developed and close working relationship between patients, clinicians, nurses, researchers and local brain tumour charities, driving research from the bench to the bedside.

The group is extremely fortunate to include scientists with a broad range of expertise who all bring their specific skills to the team. These include:

● Expertise in glioma stem cell biology (Wurdak)
● Expertise in vascular biology in glioma (Mavria)
● Bioinformatics and genomics of high grade glioma (Stead)
● 3D tissue models (Brüning-Richardson, post-doc and Taylor, PhD supported by PPR Foundation)
● Clinical studies portfolio including pharma-led and academic studies (Short)

A broad portfolio of peer-reviewed grant funding including CRUK, MRC, EU, BTRS, YCR and The Brain Tumour Charity supports this activity. Total cumulative grant income now exceeds £6M, which supports a group of over 30 staff. The group is currently housed at the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, Wellcome Trust Brenner Building. However we are out-growing the space and are currently planning refurbishment of laboratories in a neighbouring building on the same site. This new space will be exclusively for brain tumour research including state of the art labs, meeting areas dedicated for clinical/researcher interaction, public engagement related activities and teaching. As part of the refurbishments some vital equipment will need to be replaced and updated.

Help us to win the fight against brain tumours