Covid-19 impact on research could last a generation

1 min read

Amid the stories of changed treatment pathways for cancer patients and the drop in cancer referrals, the impact on research is beginning to get some coverage. This week Cancer Research UK, which accounts for almost 50% of all cancer research in the UK, said it had been forced to make £44 million in cuts to its research spending as a result of the pandemic. Other cancer charities are saying the impact on research and treatment of the pandemic could be felt for a generation.

Up to 50% of the clinical research the British Lung Foundation is funding has been paused, delayed or stopped and the charity said this could mean delays to potentially life-saving therapies and therefore avoidable deaths. Lymphoma Action has had to stop some projects completely and scale back others.

At this time, it feels appropriate to repost this quote from Professor Silvia Marino, Professor of Neuropathology, the first female President of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS) and the Principal Investigator at our Queen Mary University of London Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence:

 “Much needed new therapeutic approaches for brain tumour patients are on the horizon and proofs of principle have been established. We are on the road, via clinical trials, to taking learnings from the scientist’s bench to benefits at the patient’s bedside.

 A halt in research funding now would stop this progress, it would wipe out significant investments of many years. It would be nothing short of a tragedy.

 Furthermore, the loss of charitable funding would have huge impact on any ability to rebuild post Covid -19. This funding has enabled us to train and nurture the brightest minds in this uniquely complex area. Should there be a break in funding they would be forced to move elsewhere. For the first time we have been able to build capacity and that would be lost, as would our ability to rebuild quickly.

 A break in funding for brain tumour research now would have a devastating impact for years and years.”

Prof Marino was quoted in April and, six weeks on, the situation for Brain Tumour Research remains one of jeopardy – our call for a one-off grant from Government will persist, the fight to preserve our research will continue; to not do so is not an option.

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