CRUK launches £18m Brain Tumour Awards

CRUK launches £18m Brain Tumour Awards

The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Brain Tumour Awards have been launched today, with the aim of funding and tackling six major themes in brain tumour research.

With the Brain Tumour Awards, researchers can apply for grants of up to £10m (~€11m) for each project over five years; then up to £18m will be awarded in the first round.

The awards have been launched to help advance understanding about the biology of the disease and the challenges in translating discoveries into treatments.

These are the largest awards specifically designed for brain tumour research in the UK, and they encourage multidisciplinary approaches from scientists. CRUK has committed £15m to the Brain Tumour Awards and the Brain Tumour Charity has given £3m.

Inspiring the research community

CRUK’s executive director of research and innovation, Dr Iain Foulkes, said: “We urgently need new insights and treatments to tackle brain tumours to improve survival. We want to attract and inspire the research community to accelerate progress for a disease that has seen few treatment options developed for patients and consequently little change in survival.”

The Brain Tumour Awards aim to address the following six major themes:

1. Unlocking new insights into brain tumours using neuroscience

There is a wealth of neuroscience research on how the brain works and on other neurological disorders. This theme aims to harness this information to help to expand knowledge of how brain tumours begin and progress;

2. Unpicking brain tumours’ biology to design more effective drugs

This theme seeks to address the knowledge gap, which could lead to the discovery of new targets for treatments and the development of drugs against them;

3. Exploiting the brain tumour environment to make better treatments

This theme is about gaining a deep understanding of the cells and tissues around the tumour and the protective blood-brain barrier, to inform the development of new ways to detect and treat the disease;

4. Developing more accurate ways to study brain tumours

The aim of this theme is to develop better ways to study brain tumours in the lab, to accelerate the translation of research from bench to bedside;

5. Improving brain tumour diagnosis to make treatment more personal

This theme seeks to develop a more precise way of classifying brain tumours, which will help improve clinical trials and treatment decisions; and

6. Develop kinder treatments for brain tumours

This aims to make treatments kinder for patients with less aggressive brain tumours, lowering the risk of side effects and improving quality of life. This is particularly important for children with brain tumours, where long-term side effects can significantly affect quality of life.

An “exciting step forward”

This new scheme is in addition to the £13m CRUK spends each year on research into and development of new treatments for brain tumours. This is part of the charity’s ongoing commitment to invest an extra £25m into brain tumours over the next five years.

Foulkes added: “This is an exciting step forward in our ambition to accelerate brain tumour research. In 2014, Cancer Research UK laid out its plans to tackle the challenges in improving survival from brain tumours.”

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