Highlight notice for funding, Brachytherapy, Immunocytokines and #ALifeInterrupted

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An update, targeted at brain tumour researchers, to begin with: The NIHR’s Programme Grants for Applied Research is currently participating in a highlight notice for brain tumour research applications: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding/programme-grants-for-applied-research-competition-34/25693. For those of you who also read our weekly campaigning updates you will know that accessing the £40 million, allocated by the NIHR in 2018 for brain tumour research over the following five years, is a cornerstone of our current activity (and don’t forget if you want to receive my weekly campaigning updates please email me to let me know). Two years after the NIHR’s announcement, at best, just £6 million of the £40 million, has been allocated. For any of you applying to the NIHR, we would be really interested to follow your journey. Please do get in touch to let me know what you are up to.

Brachytherapy is not a well-known term outside of the oncology and neuroscience healthcare fields, but more and more cancer patients are welcoming this treatment option. It refers to internal radiation therapy that uses capsules containing a radiation source implanted within the body and allows for the safe placement of the radioactive source, often in or near a tumour, or the cavity that’s left after a tumour has been removed. Brachytherapy is now being used more often to treat patients with recurring meningiomas, or brain metastases.

Work in Europe has resulted in a paper entitled, "Immunocytokines are a promising immunotherapeutic approach against glioblastoma." Immunocytokines are “proprietary antibody-cytokine fusions” (cytokines are cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma). The Chief Exec of the pharma company behind this research says: “Our treatment is demonstrating effectiveness at switching the immunologically cold glioma microenvironment into a hot one, enabling effective antitumor immunity. We are delighted with the progress being made with our immunocytokine and are pleased with the great promise this could bring to patients with malignant brain tumours." This is definitely worth a read and you can access a different report with alternative content but on the same research here.

Some positive industry news from the US as the global market for brain tumour therapeutics is projected to see significant growth over the next several years. Targeted therapy is on the rise and is the focus of much of the R&D in the market, with the increasing incidence of brain cancer and the focus on precision medicine, both influencing factors. Click through for the story of the numbers and the major pharmaceutical companies involved.

Finally, this week read more about our charity partner Epilepsy Research UK and the launch of their new campaign   #ALifeInterrupted here. As I say in the Latest News post: “Further research into epilepsy should be funded for greater understanding of the condition, and this understanding can inform progress into the understanding of other neurological diseases such as brain tumours.”

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