Theresa May hugs ‘inspirational’ Tessa Jowell as £45m boost for brain cancer research announced
The Prime Minister today hailed "inspirational" Labour peer Tessa Jowell as the Government announced a package of funding for brain cancer research.
The cash is a victory for the former Olympic minister who made an emotional plea to explore new treatments in a House of Lords speech last month.
After a meeting in Downing Street this morning, Mrs May said of Baroness Jowell: "She truly is an inspiration to us all."
Today’s announcement will see £45m in funding devoted to research into new treatments for the deadly disease.
Some £20m from the Department of Health and Social Affairs will give research teams the opportunity to submit proposals for new funding.
It is the first time the routine funding has been allocated specifically to brain cancer research.
A further £25m is being invested by Cancer Research UK over the next five years to support two new specialised centers in London and Oxford.
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Baroness Jowell for her "great dignity and courage" in helping raise awareness of the disease and said the new funding was an opportunity to "explore new avenues for diagnosis and treatment".
He added: "It is a chance to create a genuine step change in survival rates for one of the deadliest forms of cancer."
Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said the new centers will help develop a "critical mass" of expertise to improve survival rates for patients.
In her House of Lords speech last month, Baroness Jowell said less than 2% of cancer research funding in the UK is spent on brain tumours and no vital new drugs have been developed in the last 50 years.
She added: “In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.
“I hope this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me. So that we can live well with cancer, not just be dying of it. All of us. For longer.”
Currently, only 14% of people with brain tumours survive the disease for ten or more years.