A new collaboration announced today gives unprecedented access to over 400,000 brain tumour tissue samples for research.
This initiative, called the Brain Tumour Archive Network, will unlock thousands of previously hard to access brain tumour samples for researchers throughout the UK.
Helping the clinical community to access more brain tumours for more research
Creation of the network is being led by brainstrust and supported by a wider group of brain tumour charities including Charlie’s Challenge, Brain Tumour Research and umbrella group Sophie’s Wish. BRAIN UK, operating at the University of Southampton, will link existing archives of brain tumour tissue in a virtual network so that researchers can gain access to unprecedented levels of tissue to support their much needed research into better treatments and a cure for brain cancer.
An exciting collaboration between Brain Tumour Charities, Societies, Universities and 27 Hospitals
BRAIN UK is run as a collaboration between representatives from the University of Southampton, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Bristol University and a network of 27 hospitals across the UK, without whose assistance the network couldn’t operate. The British Neuropathology Society, British Neuro-oncology Society, Brain Tumour Network, Medical Research Council and National Cancer Research Institute Brain Tumour Clinical Studies Group have provided input into and support for the project.
There is a huge hitherto unmet scientific and clinical need for brain tumour tissue, and with the stratified medicine agenda growing, the demand for samples with better quality background information grows, making the timing of this project perfect.
James Nicoll, Director of Brain UK and Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Southampton, comments: “I am delighted that we are able to provide this new resource for brain tumour research. We need to understand brain tumours better – how they arise and how they grow – so that we can learn to treat them better. BRAIN UK can now provide researchers with access to unprecedented numbers of brain tumour samples. This can only be done with the collaboration of our colleagues in Neuropathology departments throughout the UK and thanks to funding from the charities brainstrust and Brain Tumour Research and the Medical Research Council.”
Willie Stewart, Consultant Neuropathologist at Southern General, Glasgow, says: “One problem researchers in this field continually meet is a lack of tumour tissue for high quality research, yet there are vast resources of material in diagnostic laboratories throughout the country. This project paves the way for this invaluable material to be accessed to support high quality research projects.”
Networked approach could unlock nearly half a million samples for research
Brain tumour tissue is currently incredibly difficult for researchers to access, as many types of tumour are rare.
However, a review of current NHS archive holdings, dating back to the 1970s, revealed that a networked approach would make in excess of 400,000 stored samples potentially available to research. The Brain Tumour Archive Network will provide the interface that is needed between researchers and brain tumour tissue stored in NHS hospitals, giving easy access to the right tissue, in sufficiently large numbers with appropriate ethical approval already in place. It will support a diverse range of brain tumour research projects and change the face of neuro-oncology research.
Not one of us is as smart as all of us
Helen Bulbeck, co-founder and Director of Services and Policy here at brainstrust says: “This is an exciting project. The Brain Tumour Archive Network is an initiative where tissue samples provided by patients from across the UK can be accessed through one central resource, then made available to scientists to study how and why brain cancer develops and spreads, and to devise the best possible treatments. We beleive that this project is testament to what can happen when Charities work together, with the clinical and research community. Not one of us is as smart as all of us.”
Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research says: “Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children, and more children and young adults die from this disease than from any other cancer; in addition up to 40% of other cancers spread to the brain, yet research into brain tumours remains underfunded and under resourced. For years access to tissue has been the issue for researchers, and we’re delighted to be working with brainstrust and everyone else involved to help solve this problem.”
All involved in the project believe that the work will result in more research, better results, and better outcomes for brain tumour patients. If you want to find out more, or support this project please contact us on 01983 292405 or email email@example.com