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If only brain tumour research could be funded in the same way as leukaemia and other cancers

Prize-winning author Marion Coutts welcomes new Brain Tumour Research Centre

Marion Coutts BannerArtist and prize-winning author Marion Coutts has welcomed a new research centre working towards a cure for the disease that killed her husband.

Tom Lubbock died in January 2011 and Ms Coutts’ book The Iceberg, a memoir about his diagnosis, illness and death, won the Wellcome Book Prize 2015.

Patients, carers, scientists, clinicians and representatives from other charities across the UK were among those who gathered in Hammersmith on Thursday 24th September to hear Ms Coutts read an extract from the book. They were attending the official launch of the centre which is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between the charity Brain Tumour Research and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (London).

The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction. The Iceberg was also short-listed for a number of other prestigious awards.

Ms Coutts said: “Reaction to the book shows what happened to us is not uncommon and that is why I felt I should be here today to support research into the disease that killed my husband.”

Mr Lubbock was an influential art critic for The Independent and his own book about his experience, Until Further Notice, I Am Alive, was published in 2012.

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “This new centre brings a welcome and timely boost to long-term sustainable and continuous research into brain tumours. It is also a great milestone as it signifies we are more than half-way on our journey to create seven dedicated research centres. This number will ensure there is a critical mass of researchers who will bring us closer to a cure. With the assistance of our supporters and member charities we will continue to work on behalf the 16,000 people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.”

The new centre was chosen after a rigorous selection process including international peer review. While existing centres are led by neuroscientists, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s is the first in the charity’s network to be headed up by a pioneering brain surgeon, Kevin O’Neill. It joins others at Queen Mary University of London, and at universities in Portsmouth and Plymouth, to become the fourth centre funded by Brain Tumour Research.

Mr O’Neill was consultant to John Fulcher who was lost to a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in June 2001 at the age of 52. John’s widow Wendy went on to set up the Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC) and is now chairman of Brain Tumour Research.

The centre will receive £1.3m from the two charities over the next three years. The research and fundraising partnership between Brain Tumour Research and the Trust aims to raise £1 million a year towards the new studies involving clinicians at the Trust’s neuro-oncology unit at Charing Cross Hospital and scientists from Imperial College London.

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