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

Welcome progress for the Saatchi Bill

Brain Tumour Research welcomes the Department of Health’s decision to grant the Medical Innovation Bill a Government consultation in 2014. Innovation should be at the heart of the strategy for the NHS. We campaign for an increased focus on, and funding from, the government into innovation and research so that cures for diseases can be found and lives saved.

The Bill, put forward by Michael Ellis MP and Lord Saatchi, seeks to remove barriers currently preventing innovation that saves lives, helping doctors find new treatments for cancer and other diseases. The threat of litigation to doctors is chief amongst the barriers to his innovation and this Bill will provide clarity into what is negligent and dangerous practice and what is considered, responsible and necessary innovation. It will allow a committee of experts to approve experimental research. This approval will protect doctors from the threat of legal action.

On 22 November Jeremy Hunt released a Ministerial Statement giving Government support to what he called a “noble cause”. Hunt stated that the Government must do “whatever is needed to remove barriers that prevent innovation which can save and improve lives”. The Bill, first introduced by Lord Saatchi, is commonly known as the ‘Saatchi Bill’. It could become law before the next General Election, with the Government responding to the consultation in May 2014.

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Those who suffer brain tumours and other cancers will benefit with from greater innovation. With less than 1% of the research national spend, despite killing more children than leukaemia or any other cancer and a greater proportion of under 75s than any other common cancer, we need the government to do the right thing on research and innovation.

This Bill could be a significant step in that direction.

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