With more children and people under the age of 40 dying of a brain tumour than any other cancer in the United Kingdom, a leading researcher at Queen's University Belfast is calling for an increase in spending on vital research.
Currently 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in the UK. In Northern Ireland alone, approximately 200 - 250 brain tumour cases are operated on annually.
The call comes ahead of an event being organised by charity Brainwaves NI, as part of Brain Tumour Awareness month. The charity and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen's are hosting an information evening to raise awareness about the prevalence of brain tumours and the need for vital research.
Taking place at 7pm on Wednesday, 28 March, the event is an opportunity for those affected by a brain tumour to find out about pioneering local research and to meet some of the leading researchers. Participants will also have an opportunity to take a tour of the laboratories and to meet with the researchers and clinicians involved in this research.
Dr Tom Flannery, lead brain tumour researcher at CCRCB at Queen's, said: "The fact that brain tumours are the cause of more deaths of people under the age of 40 than any other cancer shows how much we need to address this issue. A greater awareness of, and a commitment for more funding into research on brain tumours, is essential in order to lower the number of people dying from the disease.
"The focus of our local research programme is on malignant gliomas - the most common adult primary malignant brain tumour. These tumours are characterised by their ability to invade the normal brain and by their relative resistance to current treatments. The incidence of these tumours is increasing worldwide making the need to find better treatments paramount to clinicians and scientists."
Sandra McKillop from Brainwaves NI said: "There is a real need to accelerate progress and improve treatments and outcomes for those affected by a brain tumour in Northern Ireland. Research into brain tumours receives less than 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research and we, along with the researchers at Queen's, are calling for this to be increased. By hosting this event we hope to increase awareness of brain tumours and encourage further funding for research.
"With the fundraising support of the local community, Brainwaves NI are making a difference. The Charity has financed the establishment of a malignant glioma tumour bank in Northern Ireland, a valuable resource to brain tumour researchers across the UK, and part financed the appointment of a post-doctoral research fellow to carry out this research. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the CCRCB and have further ambitious plans to support local brain tumour research."