Lingfield Based Charity, Matthew’s Friends
at Westminster for meeting of
influential brain tumour group

Matthew’s Friends Ketogenic Dietary Therapies Charity presented at Westminster on the 16 July, for the annual meeting of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT).

Among the topics for discussion at the APPGBT’s annual meeting were how the ketogenic diet and new surgical techniques can be utilised to help control seizures in brain tumour patients.

Matthew’s Friend’s is one of a team of political activists working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to highlight the issues faced by those affected.

Matthew’s Friends Founder and CEO, Emma Williams MBE and Dietitian Sue Wood spoke about their work in supporting brain tumours patients using medical ketogenic dietary therapies.  Over the past 5 years they have treated over 100 patients with Brain Tumour using these medical diets to help ease their symptoms, improve quality of life and in some instances, it appears, to decrease brain tumour size.  Matthew’s Friends have also provided funding for scientific research into this area looking at the effects of ketogenic dietary therapy on different brain cancer cells.  This work will hopefully provide further evidence of exactly what type of cancer cells respond to Ketogenic Dietary Therapy so that responsive patients can be targeted quickly for immediate treatment.  Further research and funding is now desperately needed to further their work in this area and treat more patients.

The spotlight also fell on new surgical techniques as Ashan Jayasekera, a researcher at the University of Newcastle and Chair of the British Neurosurgical Trainees Association, explained his research looking at magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a non-invasive scanning technique, which could help surgeons better identify and map the regions of the brain around a tumour which can then be removed, sparing healthy tissue.

Also attending the event were patients, carers, researchers and representatives of charities including Brain Tumour Research which is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. Brain Tumour Research helped establish, and provides the ongoing Secretariat for, the APPGBT which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. Brain Tumour Research is also a key player in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Emma Williams MBE said:
“There are currently limited options for brain tumour patients, so it is important that the role of diet in treating cancers, in particular brain tumours, are publicised, researched and funded.  We would love to be able to offer these medical ketogenic therapies to more brain tumour patients to continue our case study series and provide the support these patients need with this treatment but our funding for this project has now run out so we are unable to take any more patients although we are having enquiries from families every week asking for help.  It is extremely frustrating for us especially as these families feel like they are living with a time bomb inside their head. 

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and less than 20% of those diagnosed survive beyond five years as compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. It is imperative we continue to call for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer. We are extremely proud to work alongside Brain Tumour Research and the other member organisations in this area and will continue to campaign for the patients.”

For more information go to www.braintumourresearch.org or www.matthewsfriends.org

For further information, please contact:

Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867204 or 07811 068357 or liz@braintumourresearch.org

Emma Williams MBE at Matthew’s Friends on 01342 836571 or 0788 4054811 or emma@matthewsfriends.org

Notes to Editors

Matthew’s Friends – Ketogenic Dietary Therapies is the only UK charity dedicated to the use of these specialized medical diets for chronic conditions such as drug resistant epilepsy, metabolic disorders, brain tumour and other neurological conditions.  As well as providing family and patient support the charity also supports a dedicated clinic where expert dietitians and neurologists treat patients and their KetoCollege division where they train medical teams from all over the world. They are a global leader in these medical ketogenic dietary therapies with branches in New Zealand, Canada and soon to open, Matthew’s Friends Benelux.

As a treatment charity, Matthew’s Friends work with a number of Charity Friends and partners from all areas of neurological disorders, complex and drug resistant epilepsies and brain tumour.

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.

We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. We are also a key player in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers

Please quote Brain Tumour Research and Matthew’s Friends as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our websites. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.

www.matthewsfriends.org
www.braintumourresearch.org