Patron Peter finds out more as pioneering Hitchin charity challenge gets under way

Dr Hadwen Trust patron Peter Egan and Professor Geoffrey Pilkington at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Hadwen Trust patron Peter Egan and Professor Geoffrey Pilkington at the University of Portsmouth - Credit: Archant

A ‘grand challenge’ appeal to fund pioneering brain tumour research has been officially launched by a Hitchin-based charity.

The Dr Hadwen Trust, which funds medical research that doesn’t involve animal testing, has teamed up with Brain Tumour Research to raise £180,000 to pay for the project.

The team under Professor Geoffrey Pilkington, director of the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth, will be aiming to develop treatments that can cross the ‘blood-brain barrier’ and give hope to the thousands of patients diagnosed each year.

The barrier forms a protective envelope around the brain but, in protecting against dangerous toxins, it also prevents effective delivery of standard cancer treatments.

Dr Hadwen Trust group head of operations Dr Kay Miller said: “Many of the drugs which may be very effective against cancers in other parts of the body simply won’t work against brain tumours because the drugs cannot access them.

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“A number of novel technologies are currently being developed. While most studies in this area use animals, this is an inefficient and costly process.

“The research group at Portsmouth has developed an exciting model of the blood-brain barrier, using human cells grown in a petri dish that will allow for the rapid screening of these technologies.”

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The ‘grand challenge’ invites supporters to commit to raising £1,000, or as much as they can, to help foot the bill.

Charity patron and actor Peter Egan, seen recently in ITV drama Unforgotten, and actress Anna Chancellor were among the guests at a launch event where they met scientists and learned more about the pioneering work.

You can find out more about the challenge here

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