University’s brain cancer campaign within reach of fundraising target

At the start of Brain Tumour Awareness Month (March), the University of Liverpool is raising awareness of its Glioblastoma (Brain Cancer) Fund.

The fund is less than £20,000 short of achieving its £250,000 target which will help support lifesaving research.

Two generous new gifts from Naseem’s Manx Brain Tumour Charity and the Haugh family have bolstered the campaign’s total to more than £230,000, less than £20,000 away from the campaign being fully funded.

Glioblastoma is the most common type of primary brain cancer. Despite intensive treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the average survival is around 12 months, with less than 5 in 100 patients living for 5 years.

Immunotherapy is a revolutionary new type of treatment that manipulates the body’s own immune system into fighting cancer. Researchers at the University of Liverpool, working with The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, are studying the immune system response in long-term survivors and comparing the results with those patients who do not respond to treatment. The University’s Glioblastoma fund has been pivotal in supporting this innovative research.

In September, Professor Michael Jenkinson and Dr Michael Cearns welcomed Kelly Haugh to campus. Kelly and her family have raised nearly £6,000 in memory of her father Robert Jones, who sadly died from glioblastoma in 2022.

Dr Michael Cearns is the Kevin O’Riordan Brain Tumour PhD Fellow and is undertaking the laboratory science work.  The project is a collaboration between neurosurgeons Professor Michael Jenkinson and Dr Rasheed Zakaria, and world leading expert in immuno-oncology Professor Christian Ottensmeier.

In addition to the donation from the Haugh family, the campaign also recently received a generous donation from Naseem’s Manx Brain Tumour Charity, a charity set up in memory of Naseem, a vibrant young girl with a passion for helping others and a talent for dancing, performing and painting.

Naseem’s Charity offers advice and financial support for travel, holidays, household bills, psychological therapies for individuals post-diagnosis, medical equipment such as specialist beds and everything that is needed by individuals and families affected by brain tumours.  The charity promotes awareness of the signs and symptoms concerning brain tumours, raises funds to carry out its charitable work and funds research to find cures for brain tumours.

Trustees agreed to donate £10,000 towards the University’s research following a meeting with leading researchers. The Charity has previously funded research at the University by Dr Violaine See, whose research at the Centre for Cell Imaging focused on the effects of hypoxia in glioblastoma, as well as children’s brain tumours neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma.

The Charity’s Secretary, Geraldine Pishvaie, said: “This research is something we wholeheartedly support and we are very happy to be able to work with the clinicians. We are particularly interested to see how the findings, once published, will affect the outcomes for glioblastoma patients who I think we can agree get a rough deal when it comes to life saving treatments and progress.”

Dr Michael Cearns said, “As neurosurgeons we spend a lot of time looking after people with glioblastoma so we see this hardship up close every day and are desperate to see change.”

“What we’re doing in our lab aims to develop new treatments that we can eventually trial out of The Walton Centre. As clinicians we are particularly focused on this work having direct benefits for our patients.”

The Research Fund was launched in February 2022.  Fundraising was kickstarted by Jim Corcoran B.E.M. who continues to work with local business and organisations (including the Excelsior Masonic Lodge in West Lancashire, Merseyside Police and Tesco store employees in Litherland) to secure donations.  The fund has received tremendous support to date from donors who have been fundraising across the world. These include, Kathryn Wright who, along with her friends, took part in a colour run in memory of her father. Last year, Eoin O’Grady ran the Auckland marathon in memory of Kevin O’Riordan, as part of the Seven 4 Kevin fundraising campaign, and Kathryn Stuart and her daughters and friends climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2022 in memory of Ian Stuart. In addition, Dr Michael Cearns was awarded a highly prestigious £50,000 grant from the Royal College of Surgeons of England / Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Treatment Trust Fund.

The researchers would like to thank everyone who has supported their research to date. The team are “optimistic about this work and very grateful to all our sponsors and, most of all, our patients, for allowing this research to take place.”

The fund is now less than £20,000 away from its target, if you would like to donate please visit here.

To find out more or donate to Naseem’s Manx Brain Tumour Charity visit