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‘VALLEY OF DEATH’: Pinner mother who lost son to cancer joins calls for increased funding

 Published on: 12th March 2023   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Pinner woman who lost her son to a brain tumour is demanding urgent action to help those affected by the disease.

After Helen Forbes-Low’s 17-year-old son passed away six years ago, she and her family set up The William Low Trust. The charity is affiliated with Brain Tumour Research, which funds a PhD researcher at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London.

Helen is also supporting The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT), which is calling for wide-ranging changes to be in made in how research into the disease is done.

Helen said: “We exhaustively investigated every possible drug trial in a desperate but fruitless attempt to find something appropriate. Nothing was suitable and we lost William six weeks before his 18th birthday.

“In 2018, the government pledged to invest £40million into brain tumour research, but so far just £15million of this has been allocated. Yet just 12 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers. This is totally unacceptable for the thousands of families who face the news each year that a loved one has been diagnosed with this devastating disease.”

APPGBT’s recent inquiry report, Pathway to a Cure, shines a light on the so-called “valley of death”, in which potential new treatments discovered in the laboratory fail to reach patients because of unnecessary complexity in the way research is funded.

Derek Thomas MP, chair of APPGBT, said: “The sad fact is that brain tumour patients do not have the luxury of time. The government must act now in order to recognise brain tumour research as a critical priority, appoint a champion, and ringfence sufficient funds to make a difference.”


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