First nationwide brain tumour tissue bank funded by brainstrust – Charlotte’s Bank of Hope

The first wholly accessible brain tumour tissue bank in the UK is to be launched on September 20th, thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of one of the brains trust’s most ardent supporters, Anita Smith. The tissue bank will be housed in Glasgow at the Southern General Hospital and will be the first of its kind that will act as a repository of all kinds of clinical info for all the academic, scientific and commercial UK researchers.

This effectively means that for the first time ever, a researcher from any organisation, irrespective of its location, will have direct access to tissue to test for things such as genetic links, the sensitivity to chemotherapy and for the identification of key markers that will, hopefully, increase future patient’s treatment options.

Anita Smith has done all her fundraising in memory of her daughter Charlotte, who died aged 16 from an aggressive brain tumour in 2008. It is her sterling work that has made this project a reality and she has spoken about the tissue bank. She said that this unique brain tumour tissue bank would allow a better translation of the complicated science to turn it into treatments for patients like Charlotte.

She added that they were thrilled that through their fundraising, along with the support of Brains Trust, that they were able to leave a legacy on behalf of Charlotte that would help future generations of British brain tumour patients.

Professor Anthony Chalmers, Chair of Clinical Oncology at the University of Glasgow, and the project lead, says, “We hope this resource will transform research into brain tumours and serve as a source of material for researchers in the community throughout the UK. The heterogeneity (lack of uniformity) of brain tumours means that we need to understand the challenges and possibilities of personalised medicine – this brain tumour tissue bank is one step on our way to achieving this.”

Brainstrust director, Helen Bulbeck, adds, “By choosing to invest the money that Anita Smith and her amazing ‘Charlotte Smith Fund of Hope’ has raised into the tissue bank, this unique resource will give patients across the UK an even better chance in the future of specific treatments for their brain tumour.

As there is no structured research base currently in existence for brain tumours, despite brain cancer killing more children than any other illness, all efforts to bring together research options are vital. We really look forward to working closely with the University of Glasgow and the Southern General Hospital as this project develops. We will be monitoring the outcomes of the tissue bank closely and will continue to distribute news as we receive it.”