Five years after Dame Tessa Jowell’s death, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) Summit in Westminster today will convene leaders in brain cancer, to ensure government, the NHS, patient groups and the academic community continue to move forward research and treatment options for brain cancer.
Industry experts, patient groups, senior NHS officials and political leadership will agree on new national priorities to accelerate breakthroughs in care and research for brain cancer patients and support for their families.
The Times today reports on the need to invest the £40 million pledged by Government on the day of Tessa’s passing. Only a small portion of this proposed funding has been spent and there is a need to formally allocate the remainder of this fund. The brain tumour community is ready and organised to identify areas for investment with defined benefits and relevance to cancers more broadly, which will be proposed at the Summit.
The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Fund would put prospects for advances in care on a stable footing, with ministers urged to work with the Mission to agree details and commit to defined investment ahead of the NHS’ 75th anniversary in July.
The Mission will propose a series of policy changes to target improvements in specific areas of brain cancer research and treatment, as well as an ongoing, protected budget, to maintain progress in tackling this disease.
Jess Mills, Tessa Jowell’s daughter and TJBCM Co-Founder, said: “Today we are meeting five years almost to the day that my Mum Tessa Jowell died from Brain Cancer. This is of course a hugely symbolic reason to bring us all together- but it is also five years exactly since the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission started its work in earnest- which provides an equally important strategic reason for reflection on the extraordinary impact and progress of the Mission so far, whilst also taking a long very long hard look at the huge amount there is still to do.”
Prof. Richard Gilbertson, Chair, TJBCM, said: “Brain tumours remain one of the most difficult to treat cancers across the world. But the UK is one of the best healthcare research and treatment ecosystems globally. Working with our patients, nurses, doctors and scientists, we our ready to take on this challenge. Thanks to Tessa’s legacy and the support of our national funding bodies, we are positioned more than ever to capitalise on the unique alignment of research and the NHS to make significant advances in the treatment of these devastating diseases.”
Dr Nicky Huskens, Chief Executive Officer, TJBCM, said: “Setting up the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Fund would be a fitting legacy to Tessa’s campaigning. Tessa warned us all not to just put brain cancer in the ‘too difficult’ box, so it’s crucial that we double down on the progress we’ve made and give families and patients more hope for the future.
Despite greater awareness of the disease, new treatment options have been too slow in coming to frontline care, research trials take too long to set up and deliver and there is still significant variation in patients’ experience of care between different hospitals.
Today’s summit brings together the best and brightest minds to share ideas, inspire progress and ultimately drive even faster and further progress in transforming care.
As the NHS looks forward to marking its 75th anniversary and we all reflect on five years since Tessa’s passing, now is the moment to put in place a commitment which will ensure that energy, investment and determination continue to go in to tackling brain cancer, over the long-term.”
About the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission
The TJBCM is a Community Interest Company which delivers a national portfolio of eight transformational programmes in the areas of brain tumour research, trials, training and patient care.
The TJBCM is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care and brings together leading clinicians, academics, and charities including Brain Tumour Research, Cancer Research UK, The Brain Tumour Charity, Brainstrust, Brain Tumour Support, The Minderoo Foundation, The Tessa Jowell Foundation, Act for Cancer and the National Cancer Research Institute, amongst others.