Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has announced funding for a new Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, based at the University of Cambridge and The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

By creating a hub of expertise for childhood brain tumour research in the UK, we aim to make real inroads to tackling these diseases

The announcement comes as CRUK announces an investment of an extra £25 million over the next five years into brain tumour research. This is in addition to the £13 million spent each year on research and development of new treatments for the disease.

Cancer Research UK’s funding will support two new specialised centres. The first of these, the Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, brings together world-leading experts to discover and develop new treatments to tackle brain tumours in children. A second centre focusing on adult brain tumours will open later in the year.

The Centre will be led by childhood brain tumour expert Professor Richard Gilbertson, Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre.

“By creating a hub of expertise for childhood brain tumour research in the UK, we aim to make real inroads to tackling these diseases,” said Professor Gilbertson. “Gathering this expertise together means we can shine a light on the numerous challenges and difficulties that brain tumours pose and discover new treatments to ensure that more children survive their disease.”

The announcement comes as the Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt committed an estimated £20 million in funding to tackle brain tumours and deliver a “step change” in survival rates. The funding will be invested through the National Institute for Health Research over the next five years – with the aim of doubling this once new high-quality research proposals become available.

Each year around 11,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour and just 14% of people survive their disease for 10 or more years.

Jeremy Hunt MP said: “While survival rates for most cancers are at record levels, the prognosis for people with brain tumours has scarcely improved in over a generation.

“Our ambition is to deliver a big uplift in the funding of brain cancer research, while galvanising the clinical and scientific communities to explore new avenues for diagnosis and treatment in the future – it is a chance to create a genuine, step change in survival rates for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.”

 Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, added: “Brain tumours remain a huge challenge, with survival barely improving over the last 30 years. Since we laid out our plans to tackle this challenge in 2014, Cancer Research UK has already substantially increased its funding into brain tumours and attracted some of the world’s leading experts to the UK.

“This new funding will mean that we can accelerate these efforts further, by developing a critical mass of expertise in key areas and supporting work along the entire research pipeline to improve survival for children and adults with brain tumours.”