Minister aims to put UK at forefront of brain tumour fight
- Credit: Sarah Hussain
Norfolk MP and science minister George Freeman has said he hopes to see the UK at the forefront of the fight against brain cancer, vowing to continue his support into research for the condition.
The MP for Mid-Norfolk, made the comments after meeting brain tumour patient Stuart Grant at Hoe, near Dereham, on Friday, February 25.
Mr Grant, from Attleborough, was diagnosed with the disease in January 2019 at the age of 46.
The former radio DJ had developed a slight loss of hearing in his left ear at the time and decided to get it checked out.
It was only when an MRI was later carried out that the former KISS FM presenter learned the problems were caused by a grade 2 oligodendroglioma.
He was given a prognosis of 10 years, and is now said to be stable and being monitored with quarterly MRI scans.
The father-of-one has been taking part in charity Brain Tumour Research's 10,000 Steps a Day February challenge to help fund more effective treatments for brain tumour patients.
He has so far raised £2,100 out of his £2,740 target, to sponsor a day of research at one of the charity's four Centres of Excellence, walking around 250,000 steps to date in "horrible" weather conditions.
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As part of this, he invited Mr Freeman to join him on a stretch of his walk and believes the MP is key to helping in the fight against the disease.
Mr Grant said: "I'm really hoping to reach that target because my feeling is if I can reach that, and that day is when they create a cure or a treatment, how wonderful would that be."
Mr Freeman said brain tumours are "indiscriminate" and kill more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
The minister for UK science, research and innovation said he was "delighted" to be supporting Mr Grant in his campaign.
He said a cure would much more likely be found by "bringing everyone together", and is looking to see what he can to "integrate UK labs with international laboratories".
Mr Freeman said: "I'm going to be looking to see what that £30 million we put in has achieved, and how we can go further faster.
"We have to understand the underlying mechanism of the brain and that deep research is the key really to developing new treatments.
"That's why last week I was in Switzerland, next week I'm in Israel, in three weeks I'm in Japan. If we can connect the best laboratories up in the UK and internationally, we'll turbo-charge our ability to find a cure.
"When Stuart raises £2,500 we owe it to him to make sure that that money will go towards a cure as quickly as possible, and that means putting all the best people together."
He thanked Mr Grant for his efforts, adding: "All of us who have had anything to do with medical science know that in the end it's all about patients.
"It's people like Stuart who are actually walking the hard yards, raising the money, supporting research medicine.
"Below the neck, we have sort of worked out how the body works, but above the neck the brain we still don't understand how it works. Until we really understand we're not going to be able to develop proper cures.
"Stuart's work is absolutely vital, funding core brain research so we can understand and get on top of this disease."
Brain Tumour Research said that just 1pc of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to the condition.