Parliamentary questions

8 min read

Parliamentary Questions (PQs) are questions formally put forward by Parliamentarians to members of the Government.

PQs are a very useful way  getting insight into what the Government’s policy is on a particular issue or what action has been taken.

As PQs must be answered, they also help us  to raise awareness of an issue and to keep pressing for change.

Questions can be asked either orally or in writing, and an answer is expected in around a week in the House of Commons and two weeks in the House of Lords, though there is no formal rule guaranteeing these timeframes.

PQs are a vital piece of the political  toolkit for Brain Tumour Research, our campaigners and our supporters at Westminster.

Written Question

Sir Charles Walker

Asked on: 27 February 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of NHS funding for brain tumour research compared to research into other cancers; and if she will provide the quantum of NHS research funding into brain tumours for each of the last five financial years

 Written Question 

Baroness Randerson

Asked on: 12 February 2024

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations of the APPG Report Brain Tumours–Pathway to a Cure, and in particular recommendation 6 with reference to paediatric cancer diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.

Answered by: Lord Markham

Answered on: 15 February 2024

The Department welcomed the All-Party Parliamentary Group report and will continue to work through its recommendations with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, UK Research and Innovation, the Medical Research Council, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

With regards to recommendation six, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including childhood brain tumours and paediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. The usual practice of the NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for specific disease areas, as research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money, and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

We rely on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals. Given the relatively small brain tumour clinical research community, we have been taking action to grow the field. The NIHR is working closely with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission in hosting customised workshops for researchers, and training for clinicians, to grow capacity for brain cancer research, attract new researchers, develop the community, and support researchers to submit high-quality research funding proposals.

The NIHR is committed to the involvement, engagement and participation of children and young people in research, supporting researchers and funders, as well as empowering children and young people to lead their own journey with research.

The NIHR, together with the United Kingdom health departments, the Little Princess Trust and Cancer Research UK, jointly fund Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs) to support the most promising innovations into the cancer medicines of tomorrow. For 2023 to 2028, the NIHR is providing £21.6 million in funding for the ECMCs in England, the ECMC Paediatric Network, and the Network Programme Office. Additionally, the NIHR Clinical Research Network cancer portfolio has a dedicated children and young people’s cancer subspecialty, which has a subspecialty lead who promotes and supports research within their local National Health Service trusts.

The Department has also now set up the Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce to progress our mission to deliver world-leading cancer services. This dedicated work focusing on cancers affecting children and young people will explore research and innovation, which may include targeting research funding, reviewing children’s access to clinical trials, gaining greater access to data, and informing future therapies and treatments.

Written Question 

Caroline Lucas

Asked on: 7 February 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions she (a) has had and (b) plans to have with (i) brain tumour research charities and (ii) other organisations working to secure UK access to (A) Vorasidenib and (B) other new drugs for cancers of unmet need.

Answered on: Awaiting answer

Written Question

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Asked on: 6 February

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to improve access to new drugs for brain tumour patients.

Answered by: Lord Markham 

Answered on: 13 February 2024

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR invests in the research delivery workforce, the facilities, and the capacity to support clinical trials into all disease areas, including brain tumours. The NIHR Clinical Research Facilities and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres support the delivery of early phase trials, and the NIHR Clinical Research Network and Patient Recruitment Centres support delivery and participation in later phase clinical trials.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations on whether all new medicines, including for brain tumours, should be routinely funded by the National Health Service based on an assessment of their costs and benefits. NICE is able to recommend medicines for use through the Cancer Drugs Fund, where there is too much uncertainty for NICE to recommend routine use. NICE works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to ensure that its appraisal timelines are aligned with the regulatory process. NICE is currently evaluating a number of potential new medicines for brain tumours.

Written Question

Sir John Hayes

Asked on: 6 February 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will increase the share of overall cancer research funding allocated to brain tumour research.

Answered by: Andrew Stephenson

Answered on: 13 February 2024

The Department invests over £1 billion per year in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). NIHR research expenditure for all cancers was £121.8 million in 2022/23.

The NIHR funds research in response to proposals received from scientists, rather than allocating funding to specific disease areas. It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Because of its importance, in May 2018 the Government announced £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) through the NIHR. Since the 2018 announcement, the NIHR has committed £11.3 million across 16 projects. All applications that were considered to be of fundable quality, by scientific peer reviewers, have been funded. To increase the quality, diversity and number of brain cancer research proposals the NIHR is working with the TJBCM and the research community to develop research capacity in the brain cancer community.

There is still funding available from the original £40 million announced in 2018. We are committed to funding high-quality brain cancer research, and we expect to spend more as new research progresses.

Written Question

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Asked on: 5 February 2024

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of changes to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's Methods and Process on patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases.

Answered by: Lord Markham

Answered on: 9 February 2024

A number of the changes made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to its methods and processes for health technology evaluation are expected to benefit medicines for rare diseases, including the introduction of a severity modifier and greater flexibility in responding to uncertainty. NICE has committed to assessing the impact of the changes on patients with rare diseases.

Due to length of the medicine’s evaluation process and number of rare disease topics using older methods or processes, the analysis of the impact of changes will take some time to assess. Data is being collected which will allow, for example, the percentage of positive NICE recommendations made following old methods and processes compared with new methods and processes for rare diseases, to be assessed. NICE will be in a position to publish the impact of the 2022 manual changes in a report by the end of 2024.

Written Question

Ian Byrne

Asked on: 19 December 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate she has made on the proportion of funding for clinical brain tumour research spent in each region of the UK in the latest period for which data is available.

Answered by: Andrew Stephenson

Answered on: 10 January 2024

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). NIHR programme spend on brain tumour research for the financial year 2022/23 was £2,028,646, distributed regionally to research organisations as set out in Table 1. It should be noted that NIHR programme funding is typically awarded to a lead researcher at a research organisation who then coordinates the delivery of the research study at a national level as required.

The NIHR also devotes significant resources to supporting patients, the public and health and care organisations across England to participate in high-quality research, thereby advancing knowledge and improving care. However, NIHR does not hold information by region on the delivery of individual research studies.

Table 1: Region of lead institution to which NIHR research programme awards were made

Region

Spend 22_23

Merseyside

23.4%

Greater London

18.0%

Cambridgeshire

12.1%

Oxfordshire

10.8%

South Yorkshire

9.8%

West Yorkshire

8.9%

Midlothian

8.1%

Nottinghamshire

4.4%

West Midland

2.2%

Somerset

1.4%

North Yorkshire

1.0%

Total

100.0%

 

Written Question

Ian Byrne

Asked on: 19 December 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate her Department has made of the number of Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission customised workshops for researchers that have taken place as of 19 December 2023.

Answered by: Andrew Stephenson

Answered by: 10 January 2024

In 2023, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) hosted an essential research skills workshop series specifically designed for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, in line with National Health Service ambitions to deliver a research-active clinical workforce. Workshops covered research proposal writing, study design and design appraisal, PPI, statistical methodologies, and research dissemination. Participants also benefited from expert-led consultations to receive tailored support for individual research. These five workshops and consultations took place between October and December 2023.

The Mission is further collaborating with The Brain Tumour Charity and researchers to advise and support any allied health professional seeking assistance in designing a robust study and submitting a high-quality research proposal.

The TJBCM held its first Brain Tumour Research Novel Therapeutics Accelerator Meeting, where it brought together a panel of world class experts to review three early-stage therapeutics and applications for brain cancer. The application deadline for interested applicants will close in January 2024.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research continues to work with the TJBCM and the research community to develop new workshops to further foster and develop research capacity in the brain cancer community to support an increase in quality, quantity, and diversity in brain cancer research in the United Kingdom. The aim is to deliver new workshops in the second half of 2024.

Written Question

Baroness Randerson 

Asked on: 7 November 2023 

To ask His Majesty's Government how much funding they have allocated for research into the treatment of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma brain tumours in children in each of the last 10 years; and to which organisations were those funds allocated. 

To ask His Majesty's Government what collaborative research they are currently funding in partnership with other countries into childhood brain tumours, including Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma; and whether this includes funding for access to clinical trials. 

Answered by: Lord Markham  

Answered on: 13 October 2023 

The following table shows eight research studies around Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, funded by research funding partners in the charity and public sectors since 2013 which have been supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR): 

Written Question

John McDonnell 

Asked on: 23 October 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the APPG on Brain Tumours' report entitled Pathway to A Cure, whether his Department plans to implement a joint strategy for brain tumour research with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; and if he will make a statement. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 25 October 2023 

The Department welcomes the All-Party Parliamentary Group report, recommendations of which continue to be worked through with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, UK Research and Innovation and the Medical Research Council (MRC), and with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). 

The report recommended action by the research funding agencies on coordinating activities and making funding available. We are taking steps to ensure that funders work closely together to coordinate work along the translational pathway, from the discovery and early translational science typically supported by the MRC, feeding through to the applied health and care research funded by the NIHR. 

It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications. 

Written Question

John McDonnell 

Asked on: 23 October 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the APPG on Brain Tumours' report entitled Pathway to A Cure, whether his Department has taken steps to implement that report's recommendations on engaging healthcare professionals with research. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 25 October 2023 

The Department welcomes the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report, recommendations of which continue to be worked through with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, UK Research and Innovation and the Medical Research Council (MRC), and with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). 

In February 2023 the APPG report recommended that NIHR and UKRI should build research capacity, encouraging and retaining talent through fellowships and research incentives. In July 2023, NIHR jointly funded with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), the first two TJBCM Neuro-Oncology Fellowships, a new Fellowship Programme to support high quality training in neuro-oncology clinical practice and research to ensure clinicians are equipped with the relevant research skills needed to lead neuro-oncology trials that change practice. 

Other capacity-building initiatives underway include: the designation of 28 TJBCM adult Centres of Excellence within the National Health Service, creating a world-class network of brain tumour treatment and research centres to provide the best care and share best practice; the Tessa Jowell Academy Programme, a free national learning and networking digital platform for NHS brain tumour professionals to share excellence in research, treatment and care; and the TJBCM Brain Tumour Research Novel Therapeutics Accelerator programme, to review and provide guidance on the translation and development of novel treatments, guided by a multidisciplinary international group of experts. 

The NIHR is continuing to work with the TJBCM to develop further capacity-building initiatives. 

Written Question

Anum Qaisar 

Asked on: 17 October 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding the Government has made available for research into paediatric brain tumours in each of the last five years. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 20 October 2023 

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). NIHR invests in research, clinical expertise, specialist facilities, workforce, and support services across a range of clinical areas. NIHR expenditure on cancer research was over £101 million in 2021/22. 

The Government is committed to funding high-quality brain cancer research. In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the NIHR. This includes research into paediatric brain tumours. 

The £40 million funding will remain available; if we can spend more on the best quality science, we will do. The level of funding for brain tumour research depends on funding applications received. It is worth noting that all applications to NIHR that have been assessed as “fundable” in open competition have been funded and this will continue. 

Written Question

Caroline Ansell 

Asked on: 5 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage clinical researchers to specialise in brain tumour research; and if he will make a statement. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 13 September 2023 

Brain tumour research remains a challenging scientific area, with a relatively small research community. We are working closely with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) in hosting customised workshops for researchers, and training for clinicians. These actions will grow capacity for brain cancer research, attracting new researchers, developing the community, and supporting researchers to submit high quality research funding proposals. 

The TJBCM recently announced two appointments to the inaugural Tessa Jowell Fellowship programme. These 12-month fellowships will support high quality training in neuro-oncology clinical practice and research, to ensure clinicians are equipped with the relevant research skills needed to lead neuro-oncology trials that change practice. 

Additionally, the TJBCM have designated 28 adult Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence within the National Health Service, which has created a world-class network of brain tumour treatment and research centres to provide the best care and share best practice. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including research into brain tumours. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. 

 Written Question

Caroline Ansell 

Asked on: 5 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of his Department's processes for allocating funding to the highest quality clinical trials for brain tumour research; and if he will make a statement. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 13 September 2023 

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). NIHR invests in research, clinical expertise, specialist facilities, workforce and support services across a range of clinical areas. NIHR expenditure on cancer research was £101.2 million in 2021/22. 

The Government is committed to funding high-quality brain cancer research. The May 2018 Government announcement of £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission remains available and if we can spend more on the best quality science we will do. 

We welcome more high-quality applications for brain tumour research funding. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition. The NIHR continues to follow its normal high-quality processes in making funding recommendations to the Department. It is worth noting that all applications that were fundable in open competition have been funded. 

Written Question

Caroline Ansell 

Asked on: 5 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support researchers to access Government funding for brain tumour research; and if he will make a statement. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 13 September 2023 

Brain tumour research remains a challenging scientific area, with a relatively small research community. We are working closely with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) in hosting customised workshops for researchers, and training for clinicians. These actions will grow capacity for brain cancer research, attracting new researchers, developing the community, and supporting researchers to submit high quality research funding proposals. 

The TJBCM recently announced two appointments to the inaugural Tessa Jowell Fellowship programme. These 12-month fellowships will support high quality training in neuro-oncology clinical practice and research, to ensure clinicians are equipped with the relevant research skills needed to lead neuro-oncology trials that change practice. 

Additionally, the TJBCM have designated 28 adult Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence within the National Health Service, which has created a world-class network of brain tumour treatment and research centres to provide the best care and share best practice. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including research into brain tumours. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. 

Written Question

Lee Anderson 

Asked on: 5 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase funding for the research and development of treatments for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 12 September 2023 

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). 

DIPG is a difficult research area with a relatively small research community, and we are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals. In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. The Government is committed to funding high-quality brain cancer research, and we expect to spend more as new research progresses. The £40 million funding remains available; if we can spend more on the best quality science we will do. It is also worth noting that all applications that were fundable in open competition have been funded. 

The NIHR has supported delivery in the health and care system for eight DIPG research studies funded by research funding partners in the charity and public sectors since 2018. 

Written Question

Alun Cairns 

Asked on: 6 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that early career researchers are supported in engaging in research on (a) diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and (b) other similar diseases. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 11 September 2023 

Brain tumour research, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and similar diseases, remains a challenging scientific area, with a relatively small research community. We are working closely with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) in hosting customised workshops for researchers, and training for clinicians. These actions will grow capacity for brain cancer research, attracting new researchers, developing the community, and supporting researchers to submit high-quality research funding proposals. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research and the TJBCM recently announced two appointments to the inaugural Tessa Jowell Fellowship programme. These 12-month fellowships will support high quality training in neuro-oncology clinical practice and research, to ensure clinicians are equipped with the relevant research skills needed to lead neuro-oncology trials that change practice. 

Additionally, the TJBCM have designated 28 adult Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence within the National Health Service, which has created a world-class network of brain tumour treatment and research centres to provide the best care and share best practice. 

Written Question

Daisy Cooper 

Asked on: 1 September 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) Servier and (b) the MHRA about making Vorasidenib available to clinically suitable brain tumour patients in the UK under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 6 September 2023 

The Secretary of State and the Department have had no specific discussions with Servier about making Vorasidenib available to clinically suitable brain tumour patients in the United Kingdom under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS). 

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has also not had any specific discussions with the Secretary of State regarding Vorasidenib. The MHRA has not issued a scientific opinion for Vorasidenib under EAMS but should an application for this be received, the MHRA will consider this accordingly. 

Written Question 

Derek Thomas 

Asked on: 20 July 2023 

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 18 July 2023 to Question 193957 on Brain Cancer: Genetics and the report by OurBrainBank entitled Glioblastoma, The neglected disease in the cancer treatment revolution, published July 2023, what assessment he has made for the potential implications for his polices that OurBrainBank research estimated that whole genome sequencing analysis was carried out on approximately 1.6% of brain tumour patients and 1.3% of glioblastoma patients diagnosed since April 2021. 

Answered by: Will Quince 

Answered on: 4 September 2023 

Genomic testing for glioblastoma is included in the National Genomic Test Directory. This testing can be delivered using a range of technologies, one of which is whole genome sequencing (WGS). All patients will be offered Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology (large cancer gene panels) to ensure that a patient receives the most appropriate genomic testing depending on their individual circumstances. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory will be able to access this genomic testing offer. Between January 2022 and June 2023, 505 patients have been referred for WGS because of a suspected glioblastoma or brain tumour diagnosis. In addition to WGS, during 2022/2023, 14,800 genomics tests were performed for neurological tumours, including 3,145 NGS cancer gene panels. 

NHS England has not undertaken any formal assessment of the report by OurBrainBank entitled Glioblastoma and is not aware of any research that demonstrates any clinical benefit of WGS over other genomic technologies (i.e., large cancer gene panels) for glioblastoma; however, work is ongoing to evaluate the potential benefits. This will inform future commission decisions made by NHS England. 

Written Question

Dominic Raab

Asked on: 20 July 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department (a) allocated to and (b) spent on research on brain tumours in each year since 2018.

Awaiting an answer

Written Question

Lord Hunt 

Asked on: 13 July 2023 

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Early Access to Medicines Scheme to ensure that brain tumour patients are able to access the most promising treatments. 

Answered by: Lord Markham  

Answered on: 19 July 2023 

The early access to medicines scheme (EAMS) aims to give patients with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions access to medicines that do not yet have a marketing authorisation when there is a clear unmet medical need. 

Under the scheme, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will give a scientific opinion on the benefit/risk balance of the medicine, based on the data available when the EAMS submission was made and the EAMS criteria. The MHRA will make an evaluation of products, including drugs such as for brain tumour treatments, once an application is received. 

If we do receive an application, it is only made public where an EAMS Scientific Opinion (SO) is awarded. All EAMS SOs are published on the EAMS webpage. All drugs that have previously held an EAMS SO are also published on the EAMS webpage. 

Written Question 

Lord Hunt 

Asked on: 13 July 2023 

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Early Access to Medicines Scheme to ensure that brain tumour patients are able to access the most promising treatments. 

Answered by: Lord Markham  

Answered on: 19 July 2023 

The early access to medicines scheme (EAMS) aims to give patients with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions access to medicines that do not yet have a marketing authorisation when there is a clear unmet medical need. 

Under the scheme, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will give a scientific opinion on the benefit/risk balance of the medicine, based on the data available when the EAMS submission was made and the EAMS criteria. The MHRA will make an evaluation of products, including drugs such as for brain tumour treatments, once an application is received. 

If we do receive an application, it is only made public where an EAMS Scientific Opinion (SO) is awarded. All EAMS SOs are published on the EAMS webpage. All drugs that have previously held an EAMS SO are also published on the EAMS webpage. 

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 13 July 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of glioblastoma patients who are offered whole genome sequencing.

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 18 July 2023

Genomic testing for glioblastoma is included in the National Genomic Test Directory. Testing can be delivered using a range of technologies, including whole genome sequencing or Next Generation Sequencing technology (large cancer gene panels) to ensure that a patient receives the most appropriate genomic testing depending on their individual circumstances. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory will be able to access this genomic testing.

In addition, glioblastomas are one of four cancer indications included in an innovative £26 million programme, led by Genomics England in partnership with the National Health Service, to evaluate cutting-edge genomic sequencing technology to improve the accuracy and speed of cancer diagnosis.

Genomics England are also collaborating with a lead researcher to support research into glioblastomas through the Brain Matrix study. Patients who have consented to this study will have whole genome sequencing performed via the NHS Genomic Medicine Service. Further information about the study is available at the following link:

https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/media-centre/news/research-news/brain-matrix-pioneering-research-to-improve-treatments-for-gliomas/

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 13 July 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the number and proportion of patients diagnosed with glioblastoma who had received whole genome sequencing of their tumours before the end of 2022. 

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 18 July 2023

NHS England, supported by a Genomics Clinical Reference Group and Test Evaluation Working Groups, continually review the National Genomic Test Directory to keep pace with scientific and technological advances, while delivering value for money for the National Health Service. This review will include the genomic testing offer for patients with a suspected glioblastoma diagnosis, as per the eligibility criteria outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory.

A robust, evidence-based process and policy is in place to ensure testing continues to be available for all patients for whom it would be of clinical benefit. The policy is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Updating-the-National-Genomic-Test-Directory-v1-Dec-2020.pdf

The performance of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service is monitored quarterly through an assurance framework, which ensures all seven NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs are operating to national quality standards. This identifies and minimises any potential variation and ensures consistent delivery of the criteria outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory.

Written Question

Sarah Owen

Asked on: 12 July 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals requiring that brain tumour tissue used for (a) biopsy and (b) analysis is frozen rather than stored in paraffin blocks.

Answered by: Will Quince

No assessment has been made.

Written Question

Navendu Mishra

Asked on: 10 July 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the £40 million allocated in 2018 for brain tumour research over five years has been disbursed to fund that research as of July 2023; and when he plans to allocate the remaining funds.

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 13 July 2023

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Since the 2018 announcement, NIHR has committed £10.7 million spend across 13 brain tumour research studies. All applications to NIHR that have been assessed as “fundable” in open competition have been funded, and this will continue.

Additionally, NIHR research infrastructure supports brain tumour research studies, mainly in the NHS. This infrastructure – people and facilities – is instrumental to the delivery of research funded by the NIHR, charities and others. Resource costs are significant, though it is difficult to disaggregate purely brain tumour spending to add to the £10.7 million figure above.

The Government is committed to funding high-quality brain cancer research, and we expect to spend more as new research progresses. The £40 million funding announcement will remain available, and if we can spend more on the best quality science, we will do so.

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 10 May 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Minister of Health and Secondary Care’s oral contribution of 9 March 2023, Official Report, column 509, on Brain Tumour Research Funding, if he will provide a breakdown of the £33.9 million spent on brain cancer research in the last five years. 

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 15 May 2023

The information is shown in the table

Department of Health and Social Care: 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 Total
National Institute for Health and Care Research £2.9m £150k £2.1m 5.3m £138k £10.7m

 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Body: 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 Total
Medical Research Council £1.1m £484k £5.4m £609k £2.8m £10.4m
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council £1.1m £1.5m £1m £900k £1.9m £6.3m
Innovate UK £1.5m   £80k £359k £857k £2.8m
UK Research and Innovation - - £1.6m - £1.2m £2.8m
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council £200k £200k £200k - - £600k
National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research - - £100k - - £100k
UKRI total £3.9m £2.2m £8.3m £1.8m £6.8m £23.2m

Oral Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 24 April 2023

To ask His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to improve the scale of research into the causes and treatment of brain tumours.

Answered by: Lord Evans

Answered on: 24 April 2023

 

Written Question

Dan Carden

Asked on: 14 April 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to respond to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours entitled Pathway to a Cure – breaking down the barriers, published in February 2023.

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 20 April 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care welcomes the All-Party Parliamentary Group investigation and will consider the detailed recommendations, which will be worked through with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, as well as UK Research and Innovation and the Medical Research Council, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumours. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

Oral Question

Ian Byrne

Asked on: 14 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department (a) has provided and (b) plans to provide by 2030 ring-fenced funding for research into childhood brain tumours.

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 20 March 2023

There are currently no plans in place for future ring-fenced research funding for childhood brain tumours.

It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. The Department of Health and Social Care funds research through the NIHR and the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including childhood brain tumours. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Oral Question

Ian Byrne

Asked on: 14 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to accept the recommendations of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours entitled Pathway to a Cure: Breaking down the Barriers, published in February 2023; and whether he will make funding available for that purpose.

Answered by: Will Quince

Answered on: 20 March 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care welcomes the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s report and will consider the detailed recommendations, which will be worked through with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, and UK Research and Innovation and the Medical Research Council, and with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumours. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

Oral Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 15 March 2023

Five years ago, £40 million of public funds were set aside for brain tumour research, but recent Government figures suggest that as little as a quarter of that money has been deployed to researchers. The mechanism to distribute research funding effectively is broken. As a result, the brain tumour community has not seen the breakthroughs in treatment and survival rates that many of us believe they should have. Does my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agree that a unique and complex disease needs a unique response, and, in Brain Tumour Awareness Month, will he make brain cancer a critical research priority across all cancers?

Answered by: The Prime Minister

Answered on: 15 March 2023

I thank my hon. Friend for his thoughtful and powerful question. He is absolutely right about the importance of expediting medical research so that we can deliver better care for the people affected. I will make sure that he gets a meeting with the relevant Minister so we can ensure that that funding gets out to the people who need it and we can bring relief to them as quickly as we can. 

Written Question

Lisa Nandy

Asked on: 7 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that NHS funding for research into childhood brain tumour is ring-fenced.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 14 March 2023

It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including childhood brain tumours. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Written Question

Lisa Nandy

Asked on: 7 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that brain tissue (a) collection and (b) storage infrastructure is adequate to support research into brain tumours.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 14 March 2023

The Department-funded National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) invests in research, clinical expertise, specialist facilities, workforce and support services across a range of clinical areas, including brain tumour research.

NIHR has recently announced the outcome of the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) competition in which six BRCs have been funded to support brain tumour research. The NIHR BRCs work in partnership with other research centres to collect samples for research purposes as well as local and national sample storage facilities to support research into brain tumours.

No specific assessment has been made as to the adequacy of the sample collection and storage infrastructure.

Written Question

Lisa Nandy

Asked on: 7 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of developing a strategic plan for the (a) funding and (b) other resourcing of (i) discovery, (ii) translational and (iii) clinical research into brain tumours.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 13 March 2023

The Department-funded National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) invests in research, clinical expertise, specialist facilities, workforce and support services across a range of clinical areas, including brain tumour research.

NIHR has recently announced the outcome of the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) competition in which six BRCs have been funded to support brain tumour research. The NIHR BRCs works in partnership with other research centres such as the CRUK Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence to collect samples for research purposes as well as local and national sample storage facilities to support research into brain tumours.

Written Question

Lisa Nandy

Asked on: 7 March 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to increase access to early phase cancer clinical trials for brain tumour patients.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 13 March 2023

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). NIHR has recently invested over £969 million to strengthen the infrastructure supporting Phase 1 trial capacity over the next five years. This includes funding for the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, NIHR Clinical Research Facilities and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.

Additionally, NIHR ‘Be Part of Research’ is an online service, now also available on the NHS App, to help people find and take part in health care research including cancer studies.

Written Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 14 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve after care for patients who have received surgery for the treatment of brain tumours.

Waiting for answer

Written Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 14 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to increase research into the (1) causes of, and (2) treatments for, brain tumours.

Answered by: Lord Markham

Answered on: 20 December 2022

In May 2018, the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain cancer research through the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission via the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). While the NIHR requested funding applications on brain tumour research, this a difficult area with a relatively small research community. The NIHR will provide funding for research training elements of the Tessa Jowell Fellowships to train specialist brain tumour oncologists.

Written Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 14 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of the funding they provide for cancer research is spent on brain tumours.

Answered by: Lord Markham

Answered on: 20 December 2022

The Department invests £1 billion per year in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR’s research expenditure for all cancers in 2020/21 was £73.5 million and 7.3% was spent on brain tumour research. Information on expenditure in 2021/22 will be available in 2023.

Written Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 14 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to roll out on the NHS the Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme (MPBTP) introduced at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge to improve care for brain cancer patients.

Waiting for answer

Written Question

Paul Sweeney

Asked on: 30 November 2022

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the level of research being undertaken in Scotland into the (a) understanding and (b) treatment of brain tumours.

Answered by: Maree Todd

Answered on: 12 December 2022

The Scottish Government does not directly hold information on the research spend of other funders.

An interrogation of the NCRI (National Cancer Research Institute) database indicated that £17,631,882 was spent on brain tumour research in the UK in 20/21 by charity and public funders.

This breaks down to £6,290,512 on biology, £872,201 on aetiology, £67,606 on prevention, £2,846,401 on Early detection, diagnosis and prognosis, £6,690,871 on treatment and £864,290 on cancer control, survivorship and outcomes research.

Written Question

Paul Sweeney

Asked on: 30 November 2022

To ask the Scottish Government how many clinical trials in NHS Scotland were run for brain tumour patients in 2020-21, and how many patients took part in any such trials.

Answered by: Maree Todd

Answered on: 12 December 2022

During the financial year 2020-2021 there were 20 trials open for patients with brain tumours in Scotland. 66 patients were recruited to these studies during the same period.

Written Question

Seema Malhotra

Asked on: 17 November 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the health service is meeting its operational standard that 93 per cent of patients with a suspected brain tumour are seen within two weeks.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 17 November 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the health service is meeting its operational standard that 93 per cent of patients with a suspected brain tumour are seen within two weeks.

Written Question

Claire Hanna

Asked on: 7 November 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will include proxy measure targets for the early diagnosis of brain tumours in the 10-Year Cancer Plan.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 7 November 2022

Following a call for evidence held earlier this year to inform a new cancer plan, we received 5,000 responses. Further information will be available in due course.

Written Question

Claire Hanna

Asked on: 24 October 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will include proxy measure targets for the early diagnosis of brain tumours in the 10-Year Cancer Plan.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 7 November 2022

Following a call for evidence held earlier this year to inform a new cancer plan, we received 5,000 responses. Further information will be available in due course.

Written Question

Andrew Rosindell

Asked on: 31 October 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of novel methods for the early diagnosis of brain cancer.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 10 November 2022

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the ambition for 75% of cancers to be diagnosed at stage one or two by 2028. A recent ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign focused on the barriers to earlier presentation in all cancer types, which has led to a 1600% increase in visits to advice on cancer symptoms at NHS.UK.

The National Health Service is implementing non-specific symptom pathways for patients presenting with symptoms which do not clearly align to a tumour type, with 96 pathways currently operational in England. These pathways will support the NHS to meet the new Faster Diagnosis Standard which will ensure all patients referred for the investigation of suspected cancer receive an outcome within 28 days.

Written Question

James Daly

Asked on: 31 October 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will include proxy measure targets for the early diagnosis of brain tumours in the 10-Year Cancer Plan.

Answered by: Helen Whately

Answered on: 10 November 2022

No specific assessment has been made.

Written Question

Daisy Cooper

Asked on: 5 August 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received from (a) NICE, (b) patient groups or (c) other bodies about making additional funds available for tumour-treating fields such as Optune.

Answered by: James Morris

Answered on: 5 August 2022

A search of the Department's centralised correspondence database for 'tumour-treating fields' returns 16,051 cases. However, to identify specific cases relating to additional funding could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
On 30 March 2022, the Department responded to an e-petition on funding for OPTUNE brain cancer treatment for National Health Service patients, which is available at the following link.

Written Question

Holly Mumby-Croft

Asked on: 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been provided by the Government for site-specific brain tumour research each year in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020, (d) 2021 and (e) 2022 to date.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 5 August 2022

The information is not held in the format requested.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The following table shows the funding provided for site-specific brain tumour research in each financial year since 2018/19. This does not include the NHIR’s infrastructure spending.

2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
£2.9 million £432,000 £2.1 million £5.3 million

The decrease in funding in 2019/20 was due to the number of unsuccessful brain tumour applications. We rely on researchers to submit high-quality funding proposals within a difficult area with a small research community. The NIHR released an announcement to the research community in April 2018, making clear the desire to receive brain tumour research funding applications. Additionally, working closely with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, we have held customised workshops to support the research community in submitting more fundable research applications to the NIHR. All applications which were fundable in open competition have been funded. We will also provide funding for the research training elements of the Tessa Jowell Fellowships to train specialist brain tumour oncologists and therefore increase the research community.

Written Question

Greg Smith

Asked on: 29 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on the establishment of dedicated neuro-oncology consultant posts within the fields of neurosurgery, neurology, neuropathology, paediatrics and medical and clinical oncology, as recommended by the Task and Finish Group on Brain Tumour Research.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 29 March 2022

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to designate centres of excellence in the management of brain tumours. Nine centres have achieved designation in its first phase. The Mission has a workstream on training to expand the brain tumour treatment workforce in collaboration between National Health Service bodies, Royal Colleges and charities.

All NHS services for brain tumours should be provided according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence improving outcomes guidance which makes recommendations on workforce specialisations. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect the services commissioned to adhere to these guidelines.

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 28 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken since 2018 to support the need for research and research funding into brain tumours identified by the Task and Finish Group on Brain Tumour Research 2018-2019; and what assessment his Department has made of how current funding levels for brain tumours compare to funding levels prior to 2018.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 28 March 2022

Since 2018, the Department has supported the establishment of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), a national convening body for all stakeholders engaged in brain tumour research, treatment and care. This unites professional, patient, charity and Governmental groups to share information and establish programmes working towards a cure for brain tumours. We have held customised workshops to support the research community to submit fundable research applications to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We will also provide funding for the research training elements of the Tessa Jowell Fellowships to train specialist brain tumour oncologists and increase the research community.

The Department and the TJBCM are working to improve research and care for children and adults with brain cancer. This includes the launch of the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX, a new trials platform to provide access to trials of treatments best suited to individual tumours. Additionally, the Tessa Jowell Academy is a new free learning and networking platform, connecting 28 National Health Service brain tumour centres to share excellence in research, treatment and care.

The Department is liaising with the Medical Research Council on initiatives to stimulate the research pipeline for brain tumours. The NIHR is also engaging with UK Research and Innovation. The Department also works with funding partners such as Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and brain tumour charities, for research into new scientific discoveries. No comparative assessment of funding levels for brain tumours prior to 2018 has been made.

Written Question

Anum Qaisar

Asked on: 24 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Airdrie and Shotts dated 10 December 2021, 20 December 2021, 11 January 2022, 8 February 2022 and 3 March 2022 on developing a four-nation approach to improving research and funding into childhood cancer.

Answered by: Edward Argar

Answered on: 24 March 2022

We replied to the hon. Member on 22 March 2022.

Written Question

Holly Mumby-Croft

Asked on: 22 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated by Government bodies and agencies to (a) site-specific brain tumour research, (b) site-specific breast cancer research, (c) site-specific prostate cancer research and (d) site-specific leukaemia research since 2002.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 22 March 2022

The Government funds research via many routes therefore there is not a single repository of funding. Government funders of health research do not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area is determined by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications. The Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), which is a strategic partnership of United Kingdom cancer research funders. The following table shows total site-specific research spending by the NCRI 's Government partners for the period 2002/03 to 2019/20, the most recent data available.

Brain tumour £24,848,028.73 
Breast cancer  £148,744,495.51
Leukaemia £130,655,832.13
Prostate cancer £128,591,592.80

Written Question

Catherine West

Asked on: 22 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve awareness of brain tumour symptoms during March 2022, Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 22 March 2022

While there were no specific awareness campaigns for brain tumours, on 2 March 2022 the latest 'Help us help you' campaign launched to addresses the barriers which prevent people from consulting their general practitioner with possible cancer symptoms. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing plans for future phases of the campaign to raise awareness of key cancer symptoms during 2022/23.

Written Question

Ruth Cadbury

Asked on: 22 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many adults are participating in Government-funded clinical trials on treatments for (a) brain cancer, (b) leukaemia, (c) breast cancer and (d) prostate cancer

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 22 March 2022

The information is not held in the format requested. The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR does not record the age of participants in clinical trial therefore the number of adults in these trials is not held. However, the following table shows all participants in clinical trials for treatments for brain, breast and prostate cancers either supported or funded by the NIHR since April 2019. Information on trials for leukaemia treatments is not available in the format requested. All studies are supported by the NIHR NIHR-funded studies.

Brain cancer 7,801 Brain cancer 5,647
Breast cancer 52,569 Breast cancer 16,681
Prostate cancer 26,873 Prostate cancer 8,310

Written Question

Daisy Cooper

Asked on: 18 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allocating funding for the use of Optune, tumour treating fields therapy, in the NHS.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 22 March 2022

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines are evidence-based recommendations for health and social care professionals in England. The guidelines are developed by experts based on a thorough assessment of the available evidence and extensive engagement with interested parties. They represent best practice and should be taken fully into account in the care and treatment of individual patients.

Optune has been considered by the NICE clinical guidelines programme. In its guideline on brain tumours (primary) and brain metastases in adults, the NICE recommended that tumour-treating fields should not be offered as part of management of a newly diagnosed grade IV glioma (glioblastoma) or as part of management of recurrent high-grade glioma.

Oral Question

Holly Mumby-Croft

Asked on: 17 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on how much is spent annually on cancer research in the UK (a) through NCRI partners and (b) by all those that conduct cancer research.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 17 March 2022

The following table shows annual spending on cancer research in the United Kingdom through National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) partners between 2017/18 and 2019/20. Data for 2020/21 is not yet available.

2017/18 £682 million

2018/19 £687 million

2019/20 £669 million

Data on research funded by all those that conduct cancer research is not held centrally. NCRI is a UK-wide partnership between research funders to maximise the value and benefits of cancer research for patients and the public. NCRI’s partners consist of over 20 organisations, including UK Research and Innovation; the Medical Research Council; Blood Cancer UK; Brain Tumour Research; Cancer Research UK; Breast Cancer Now; Cancer Research Wales; and the National Institute for Health Research. The full list of partners is available at the following link.

Oral Question

Lord Randall of Uxbridge

Asked on: 15 March 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve the outcomes for brain tumour cancer patients by establishing a targeted funding bespoke panel solely for brain tumour research

Answered by: Lord Kamall

Answered on: 15 March 2022

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) encourages the research community to submit high quality proposals. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, scientific quality and value for money. The NIHR ensures that relevant experts are involved in the assessment of the research applications it receives. Assessment committees comprise individuals with a broad range of expertise due to the wide diversity of topics it reviews, which may include brain tumour experts. However, committees ensure that before an individual application is assessed, detailed written peer review reports from experts chosen for their specific expertise are considered.

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the statement by the Task and Finish Group on Brain Tumour Research 2018-2019, that additional research is needed and the funders are ready to invest more in brain tumour research; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 1 March 2022

The Department agrees that more research is needed on brain cancer and in 2018, we announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research. The Department is working with research funders and other stakeholders through the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to increase the capability and capacity of the brain tumour research community to enable researchers to develop fundable research proposals.

Oral Question

Jeremy Hunt

Asked on: 1 March 2022

“Dear Mr Speaker. Today is brain tumour awareness month. The Secretary of State kindly wrote to me in January when my mother died from a brain tumour and Baroness Tessa Jowell was much loved on both sides of this house. She also of course died from a brain tumour. Given that it is the biggest cause of cancer death for the under-40s and we still don’t know what causes them, does he agree that this should be a priority for research so we understand as much about brain tumours as we do about other cancers.”

Answered by: Sajid Javid

Answered on: 1 March 2022

“Mr Speaker, can I once again express my condolences to my Right Honourable Friend for his loss. He’s absolutely right to raise this and the need for more research and that is one of the reasons why, back in 2018 we announced £40 million of extra research funding over the next five years. I can tell him some £9 million of that has already been committed to some ten projects, and in addition the Tessa Jowell Brain Matrix is an exciting new trials platform that will give people with brain cancer access to trials and treatments that are best suited for their individual tumours.”

Written Question

Hilary Benn

Asked on: 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of established brain tumour centres are funded by (a) Governmental bodies and (b) the third sector. (126550) 

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 1 March 2022

NHS England and NHS Improvement are the direct commissioners of neurosurgery services, radiotherapy services and chemotherapy services, all of which are involved in the care of patients with brain tumours. There are 24 National Health Service commissioned and funded neurosciences centres which undertake surgery and NHS commissioned oncology centres which coordinate and deliver other aspects of care. Some follow-up care may be undertaken outside of these centres, within hospital oncology departments.

Written Question

Jim Shannon

Asked on: 25 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to raise awareness across the UK of the five major symptoms of cancer.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 25 February 2022

NHS England and NHS Improvement 's 'Help us help you' campaign has raised awareness of key cancer symptoms. Three new awareness campaigns on cervical screening, prostate cancer and the barriers to patients seeking treatment for symptoms are running in the first quarter of 2022.

Written Question

Catherine West

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of clinical nurse specialists who specialise in brain tumours ; and what steps the NHS is taking to ensure that all brain tumour patients have access to a named clinical nurse specialist.

Answered by: Edward Argar

Answered on: 21 February 2022

No specific estimate has been made as cancer nurse specialists are not separately identifiable in the National Health Service Electronic Staff Record. As part of a £52 million investment in the cancer and diagnostics workforce in 2021/22, Health Education England is offering 250 training grants to enable existing and aspiring cancer nurse specialists to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education and research capabilities, including in relation to brain tumours.

Written Question

Ruth Cadbury

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children are participating in Government-funded clinical trials on treatment for (a) brain cancer and (b) leukaemia.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 24 February 2022

The Department funds clinical trials via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Since April 2019, 37 children consented to take part in trials for the treatment of brain cancer and 1,294 children consented to take part in trials regarding treatment for leukaemia. The NIHR also supports the delivery of trials funded by other research funders such as other public funders, charities, and industry. Of these trials, between 2019 to 2022 2,605 children consented to take part in trials for the treatment of brain cancer and 706 children consented to take part in trials for the treatment of leukaemia.

Written Question

Greg Smith

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on taking forward the recommendation of the Task and Finish Group on Brain Tumour Research to improve access for researchers to brain tumour tissue and blood samples with accompanying clinical data; and what plans his Department has to tackle that issue.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 24 February 2022

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission reports that over 70% of United Kingdom neuro-oncology centres now have biobanking infrastructure in place to collect samples and tissue for research. These centres are collaborating to improve tissue collection opportunities through the Tessa Jowell Academy.

Written Question

Alexander Stewart

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Scottish Government what estimate it has made of the number of clinical nurse specialists who specialise in brain tumours, and what steps NHS Scotland is taking to ensure that all brain tumour patients have access to a named clinical nurse specialist.

Waiting for answer

Written Question

Catherine West

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of clinical nurse specialists who specialise in brain tumours ; and what steps the NHS is taking to ensure that all brain tumour patients have access to a named clinical nurse specialist.

Answered by: Edward Argar

Answered on: 24 February 2022

No specific estimate has been made as cancer nurse specialists are not separately identifiable in the National Health Service Electronic Staff Record. As part of a £52 million investment in the cancer and diagnostics workforce in 2021/22, Health Education England is offering 250 training grants to enable existing and aspiring cancer nurse specialists to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education and research capabilities, including in relation to brain tumours.

Written Question

Beatrice Wishart

Asked on: 24 February 2022

To ask the Scottish Government how the site-specific brain tumour research funding that is provided through the Chief Scientist Office is allocated between the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Common Scientific Outline categories of (a) biology, (b) aetiology, (c) prevention, (d) early detection, diagnosis and prognosis, (e) treatment and (f) cancer control, survivorship and outcomes research.

Waiting for answer

Written Question

Nadia Whittome

Asked on: 1 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the findings of the Level Up and Stop the Devastation Report from Brain Tumour Research on creating a dedicated levelling up brain tumour research fund.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 1 November 2021

The Department agrees further brain tumour research is vital for improving the treatment and outcome for these patients. In 2018, we announced £40 million over five years for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). To encourage applications for this research, the NIHR is supporting the research community in submitting fundable proposals. The NIHR also continues to encourage brain tumour research applications. We therefore have no plans for a dedicated fund.

Written Question

Pam Cameron

Asked on: 22 February 2022

o ask the Scottish Government how the site-specific brain tumour research funding that is provided through the Chief Scientist Office is allocated between the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Common Scientific Outline categories of (a) biology, (b) aetiology, (c) prevention, (d) early detection, diagnosis and prognosis, (e) treatment and (f) cancer control, survivorship and outcomes research.

Waiting for answer

Written Question

Derek Thomas

Asked on: 22 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken since 2018 to support the need for research and research funding into brain tumours identified by the Task and Finish Group on Brain Tumour Research 2018-2019; and what assessment his Department has made of how current funding levels for brain tumours compare to funding levels prior to 2018. (127506)

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 28 March

Since 2018, the Department has supported the establishment of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), a national convening body for all stakeholders engaged in brain tumour research, treatment and care. This unites professional, patient, charity and Governmental groups to share information and establish programmes working towards a cure for brain tumours. We have held customised workshops to support the research community to submit fundable research applications to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We will also provide funding for the research training elements of the Tessa Jowell Fellowships to train specialist brain tumour oncologists and increase the research community.

The Department and the TJBCM are working to improve research and care for children and adults with brain cancer. This includes the launch of the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX, a new trials platform to provide access to trials of treatments best suited to individual tumours. Additionally, the Tessa Jowell Academy is a new free learning and networking platform, connecting 28 National Health Service brain tumour centres to share excellence in research, treatment and care.

The Department is liaising with the Medical Research Council on initiatives to stimulate the research pipeline for brain tumours. The NIHR is also engaging with UK Research and Innovation. The Department also works with funding partners such as Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and brain tumour charities, for research into new scientific discoveries. No comparative assessment of funding levels for brain tumours prior to 2018 has been made.

Written Question

Tony Lloyd

Asked on: 6 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding the Government is making available for the treatment of brain tumours. 

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 17 January 2022

The information is not available in the format requested. Expenditure on the treatment of brain tumours forms part of system budgets for the National Health Service. Funding is made available to Cancer Alliances to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan's ambitions for all cancers, including brain tumours.

 

Written Question

Virendra Sharma

Asked on: 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to obtain additional resources to build capacity so that the NHS can tackle the cancer backlog.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 21 February 2022

At the Spending Review we announced an extra £5.9 billion of capital to support elective recovery, diagnostics, and technology over the next three years. This includes £2.3 billion to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and to roll out Community Diagnostic Centres to help clear backlogs of people waiting for clinical tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasounds and computerised tomography scans. We announced a £1 billion Elective Recovery Fund at Spending Review 2020 to support elective and cancer recovery. As part of this, a £20 million investment was made available to Cancer Alliances to help speed up cancer diagnosis and help manage the high volume of referrals. The Spending Review in 2020 provided £260 million to increase the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. This included £52 million in 2021/22 for Health Education England to further invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce, including expanding training in key medical professions, offering training grants for 250 nurses wishing to become cancer clinical nurse specialists and for an additional 100 nurses wishing to become chemotherapy nurses.

Written Question

Drew Hendry

Asked on: 6 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the £20 million committed by his Department in 2018 to brain tumour research over a five year period is still to be allocated; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on brain tumour research funding.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 17 December 2021

Since this funding was announced in February 2018, a further £20 million was announced in May 2018, bringing the total planned investment to £40 million over five years.

The information on spending still to be allocated is not held in the format requested. The National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) infrastructure spending on cancer research does not record the specific type of cancer. Studies can be applicable to cancer in general, such as the type of tumour and research on supportive and palliative care interventions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic many of the NIHR’s research programmes, studies and trials were necessarily paused. However, the NIHR’s funding competitions remained open throughout, including for brain tumour research.

 

Written Question

Caroline Dinenage

Asked on: 27 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much and what proportion of his Department’s cancer research budget was spent on childhood cancer research in the last three years; and if he breakdown those figures by types of childhood cancer that received that funding.

Answered by: Edward Argar

Answered on: 27 October 2021

This information is not held in the format requested. The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR does not categorise research studies by age group or by type of childhood cancer. In addition, not all studies research a specific condition but are aimed at prevention or to improve outcomes for multiple conditions.

Written Question

Nadia Whittome

Asked on: 27 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 27 October 2021

In May 2018 we announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research to improve outcomes for cancer patients as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research . Since this announcement, 10 applications for research have been funded and seven are under consideration. The NHS Long Term Plan set out a series of commitments that focus primarily on fast and early diagnosis for all cancers including raising greater awareness of symptoms of cancer, lowering the threshold for referral by general practitioners and accelerating access to diagnosis investing in rapid diagnostic centres. These measures, aimed at improving cancer outcomes for all cancers, will benefit brain tumour patients.

Written Question

Tony Lloyd

Asked on: 13 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding is available for research into brain tumours; and what research streams on brain tumours the Government is allocating funding to.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 13 December 2021

In May 2018 the Government announced a £40 million investment over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR released a public announcement to the research community, making clear our desire to receive brain tumour research funding applications. We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals.

As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area is driven by factors such as scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumour research.

Written Question

Henry Smith

Asked on: 27 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the new NHS England Quality of Life survey for people diagnosed with a less survivable cancer.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield

Answered on: 27 October 2021

All people with a cancer diagnosis, including those with a less survivable cancer, are invited to complete the Cancer Quality of Life Survey. This is an initiative aimed specifically at supporting long term survivorship. For cancer patients who sadly do not survive for 18 months from diagnosis other approaches to assessing their experience, such as the Cancer Patient Experience Survey, will be more appropriate

Written Question

Gregory Campbell

Asked on: 26 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made to encourage more high quality applications for funding into brain tumour research.

Answered by: Edward Argar

Answered on: 26 October 2021

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality fundable research applications in a difficult area with a small research community. We have released a public announcement making clear our desire to receive funding applications. Working with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, we held customised workshops in October 2021 to support the research community in submitting more fundable research applications and we are funding training in research for specialist brain tumour oncologists. The NIHR has received 69 applications to date, of which 10 have already been successful with others still under consideration.

Written Question

Nadia Whittome

Asked on: 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the findings of the Level Up and Stop the Devastation Report from Brain Tumour Research on creating a dedicated levelling up brain tumour research fund.

 

Written Question

Nadia Whittome

Asked on: 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.

 

Oral Question

Lord Hunt 

Asked on: 29 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a strategy for the (1) prevention, and (2) treatment, of brain tumours in children and young adults, and (3) aftercare for such people.

Answered by: Lord Kamall

Answered on: 29 September 2021

NHS England has no plans to do so.Services for the treatment of brain tumours in children and young adults falls under NHS England 's direct commissioning responsibilities for specialised services . The NHS Long Term Plan includes a number of commitments for improving the outcomes and experience of children, teenagers and young adults with cancer including: implementing networked care; simplifying pathways and transitions between service; ensuring that every patient has access to specialist care and increasing participation in clinical research.

Written Question

Lord Hunt

Asked on: 15 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to produce a strategy for the transition to adult care of children with autism who have brain tumours, and (2) to review the age classification for when people with autism are considered to be young...

Oral Question

Anum Qaisar-Javed

Asked on: 15 September 2021

September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Every day across the UK, 12 children and young people will be diagnosed with cancer, and, of those, two will not survive. My constituent Nadia Majid and her family are campaigning to improve research and funding in this field. Nadia’s son, Rayhan, was only four years old when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. Rayhan tragically passed away only four months after his diagnosis. Will the Prime Minister join me in thanking all the doctors, nurses and support staff who work tirelessly to fight against childhood cancer and meet with me to discuss how the four nations can work together to improve research and funding into childhood cancers and to support families like Nadia’s?

Answered by: Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Answered on: 15 September 2021

I know that the hon. Lady echoes the thoughts of millions of people. There is not a family in this country that has not been touched by cancer. Childhood cancer is particularly tragic, which is why the Government are investing huge sums in research and also in supporting some of the fantastic charities that she mentions, particularly those investigating brain cancers.

 

Written Question

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Asked on: 13 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a strategy for the (1) prevention, and (2) treatment, of brain tumours in children and young adults, and (3) aftercare for such people.

Oral Question

Thangam Debbonaire 

Asked on: 8 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the use of personalised vaccines as a treatment for brain tumours.

Answered by: Maria Caulfield, MP

Answered on: 21 September 2021

At present, no vaccine therapies are licensed for use as a treatment for brain cancer. Such treatments are used within either experimental or early stage trial settings, therefore they are not routinely available to patients.

Written Question

Emily Thornberry

Asked on: 6 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on improving the availability of and access to clinical trials in the UK for families affected by brain and childhood cancers.

Answered by Jo Churchill MP

Answered on: 6 September 2021

The Secretary of State has not had any specific conversations with Cabinet colleagues on improving the availability of and access to clinical trials in the United Kingdom for families affected by brain and childhood cancers. We are determined to make it as easy as possible for the public to identify the availability of, and access to, research happening across the country, including brain and childhood cancers, and enable them to take part. We have launched the “Be Part of Research” study search application and website, which helps people to find out about health research, including clinical trials, of interest to them.

We are also working with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to increase high quality brain tumour research.

 

Written Question

Emily Thornberry

Asked on: 6 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to build on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in promoting future collaborations between UK-based and EU-based medical researchers, including for research into brain tumours and childhood cancers.

Answered by Edward Argar MP

Answered on: 6 September 2021

As part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the United Kingdom (UK) has agreed to associate with Horizon Europe, furthering the UK’s ambition to become a global science superpower. Our participation will support continued partnerships between UK and European Union’s (EU) science and research experts and provide a platform through which our scientists and innovators can tackle significant and shared challenges. This includes medical research into cancers given that research and innovation on cancer, including childhood cancers, remains a high priority for the EU. The UK has an excellent track record in EU Framework Programmes and we are actively encouraging UK researchers and innovators to form consortia with their UK and EU partners and are encouraging UK researchers and companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

Written Question

David Simmonds

Asked on: 4 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to (a) promote collaborative working between (i) the National Institute for Health Research, (ii) UK Research and Innovation, (iii) Cancer Research UK, (iv) the Medical Research Council, the (v) Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission and (vi) other relevant brain tumour research stakeholders and (b) award funding to advance the research being undertaken on brain tumours and brain tumour treatment.

Answered by Edward Argar MP

Answered on: 15 March 2021

The Department supported the establishment of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) in 2018. The TJBCM is a national convening body for all stakeholders engaged in brain tumour research, treatment and care. Its mission is to unite professional, patient, charity and Government groups to share information, and establish transformative programmes that will lead ultimately to a cure for brain tumours.

Active contributors to the TJBCM include the Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Brain Tumour Research, the Brain Tumour Charity and Brainstrust as well as representatives of the National Health Service. As part of the establishment of the TJBCM the Department announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research via the NIHR. The NIHR is also engaging with UK Research and Innovation colleagues.

Written Question

Hilary Benn MP

Asked on: 3 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the merits of repeated DWP assessments where an individual applicant has had a (a) brain tumour or (b) severe head injury when there is no evidence that the person’s condition will improve.

Answered by Colleen Fletcher MP

Answered on: 8 March 2021

In both Work Capability Assessments (WCA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments, healthcare professionals advise on a review period that is appropriate to the individual claimant. In the WCA, if a claimant has a condition that causes severe functional impairment and there is no realistic prospect of recovery of function they can be placed in the severe conditions group and would not be routinely reassessed. In PIP, claimants receiving the highest level of benefit whose functional ability will not improve will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point. The up-coming Health and Disability Green Paper will focus on how we can make further improvements to assessments and seek views on future changes.

Question

Hilary Benn

Asked on: 10th February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the latest research findings from research funded by his Department into glioma cancer have shown; and if he will make a statement.

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