Tag Archives: Brain

Alzheimer’s link to herpes virus in brain, say scientists

The presence of viruses in the brain has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease in research that challenges conventional theories about the onset of dementia.

The results, based on tests of brain tissue from nearly 1,000 people, found that two strains of herpes virus were far more abundant in the brains of those with early-stage Alzheimer’s than in healthy controls. However, scientists are divided on whether viruses are likely to be an active trigger, or whether the brains of people already on the path towards Alzheimer’s are simply more vulnerable to infection.

“The viral genomes were detectable in about 30% of Alzheimer’s brains and virtually undetectable in the control group,” said Sam Gandy, professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York and a co-author of the study.

The study also suggested that the presence of the herpes viruses in the brain could influence or control the activity of various genes linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

The scientists did not set out to look for a link between viruses and dementia. Instead they were hoping to pinpoint genes that were unusually active in the brains of people with the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s. But when they studied brain tissue, comparing people with early-stage Alzheimer’s and healthy controls, the most striking differences in gene activity were not found in human genes, but in genes belonging to two herpes virus strains, HHV6A and HHV7. And the abundance of the viruses correlated with clinical dementia scores of the donors.

“We didn’t go looking for viruses, but viruses sort of screamed out at us,” said Ben Readhead, assistant professor at Arizona State University-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center and lead author.

Gandy said the team were initially “surprised and sceptical” about the results, based on brain tissue from the Mount Sinai Brain bank, and so repeated the study using two further brain banks – in total 622 brains with signs of Alzheimer’s and 322 healthy control brains – and detected the very same genes. “We’ve tried to be conservative in our interpretation and replicated the results in three different brain banks, but we have to at least recognise that these diseased brains are carrying these viral genomes,” he added.

The scientists could not prove whether viruses actively contribute to the onset of disease, but they discovered a plausible mechanism for how this could happen. Some of the herpes genes were found to be boosting the activity of several known Alzheimer’s genes.

David Reynolds, chief scientific officer of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said this element was significant. “Previous studies have suggested that viruses might be linked with Alzheimer’s, but this detailed analysis of human brain tissue takes this research further, indicating a relationship between the viruses and the activity of genes involved in Alzheimer’s, as well as brain changes, molecular signals, and symptoms associated with the disease,” he said.

However, others were more sceptical. Prof John Hardy, a geneticist at University College London, said: “There are some families with mutations in specific genes who always get this disease. It’s difficult to square that with a viral aetiology. I’d urge an extremely cautious interpretation of these results.”

The viruses highlighted are not the same as those that cause cold sores, but much more common forms of herpes that nearly everyone carries and which don’t typically cause any problems. The study in no way suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious or can be passed from person to person like a virus – or that having cold sores increases a person’s risk of dementia.

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain, and the number is projected to rise to a million by 2025 and 2 million by 2050. But despite hundreds of drug trials during the past decade, an effective treatment has not yet emerged.

“While these findings do potentially open the door for new treatment options to explore in a disease where we’ve had hundreds of failed trials, they don’t change anything that we know about the risk and susceptibility of Alzheimer’s disease or our ability to treat it today,” said Gandy.

Like Tessa Jowell, I have a brain tumour. I hope her death inspires new research | Jessica Morris

Many people are grieving the untimely death of Tessa Jowell. She was an exceptional person. Tony Blair confirmed the impression she gave to those of us who only knew her from afar: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.”

For me, her death is personal for another reason. We found ourselves in the same elite club.

Like Tessa Jowell, I was blindsided by a diagnosis of glioblastoma (GBM) in January 2016. I was walking in the hills in upstate New York (we live in the city) when a strange sensation made me stop. I opened my mouth to explain to my friends and found I couldn’t form any words. I slumped into unconsciousness, having a full-blown seizure.

Two days later I had brain surgery, and the terrible diagnosis came two weeks after that. Now, more than two years later, I am determined to do what I can to improve the outcomes for everyone like me living with this brutal disease. Jowell’s death gives me added impetus in the struggle to turn this monstrous disease around.

After I was diagnosed, I asked my neuro-oncologist why glioblastoma is so deadly; why the terrifying statistics suggested that I had a mere 5% chance of surviving five years. He explained to me that the dreaded figure five also relates to another key statistic: the percentage of successful applications for research funding into GBM. This disease is so complex, so aggressive and so rare, that it is hard to attract substantial research funding.

It is especially gratifying that Jowell’s powerful legacy has already begun to be felt in the form of increased government funding. But she would be the first to agree this is not enough. There is another currency to tap: a goldmine of patient-generated data that is massively under-collected and undervalued. At the heart of every GBM drama, as with any life-threatening disease, is a human being enduring symptoms – some good, many bad – resulting from the cancer and the treatments we take. Yet our relationship as patients with our disease is not consistently recorded or analysed. It can feel as if, from the perspective of the medical system, our experience is not worth understanding.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

As an example, I’ve been fortunate enough to be treated in New York with ground-breaking treatments that can be hard to come by in the UK, including electrotherapy and immunotherapy. These cost more than $ 30,000 a month, covered by insurance and the drug company’s compassionate use programme. But how the interaction between these therapies is actually affecting me is not recorded. This reflects a long-standing approach in medicine. The “objective” measures of disease progression, as evidenced by things like the size of my tumour, the results of my MRIs, are prized. The “subjective” measures of my experience – how I feel each day, my personal responses in terms of X or Y – are largely ignored.

Patients are active, wanting to share and swap notes. Desperate to know whether a change in diet, or a cocktail of supplements, or exercise, or mindset, can help them stay alive, they are busy on social media. Amid all this noise, doctors have little advice to give – “Should I adopt the ketogenic diet? Take medical marijuana? Fast twice a week?” – because none of these approaches have been, or could be, subject to the kind of clinical trial a new drug treatment undergoes.

But imagine if we could ask people to log how they’re feeling, and what steps they’re taking to manage their disease, every day. Imagine if we could then aggregate all that data and mine it for insights. Couldn’t we find some clues from patients’ unfiltered perspective that would supplement the clinical trials information?

Dr Ethan Basch, of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, undertook some fascinating research last year. He found that if you ask someone with cancer to log their symptoms, the act of doing so, coupled with your clinician’s ability to adjust therapies in real time, can lead to an actual improvement in disease outcome. People lived longer.

I’ve channelled my own frustration with my diagnosis into creating OurBrainBank, a non-profit organisation designed to move glioblastoma from terminal to treatable, powered by patients. We recently launched our pilot app in the US. People with GBM can log their symptoms daily and their aggregated data will be available to any qualified GBM researcher worldwide, for free, subject to strict screening. People using the app report feeling more on top of their disease through daily monitoring; better able to make use of their meetings with their clinicians; and more hopeful that by sharing their personal data they can play an active role in making progress.

Tessa Jowell died during May, which happens to be brain tumour awareness month. Our colour is grey. It’s strangely apt. Because what we need to crack GBM is to use our grey cells to think creatively and empathetically – patient and doctor alike.

That’s the kind of approach she espoused. She put it the best: “I hope always my politics are the politics of aspiration, ambition, possibility and the future.”

Jessica Morris is a strategic communications consultant and the founder and chair of OurBrainBank

Like Tessa Jowell, I have a brain tumour. I hope her death inspires new research | Jessica Morris

Many people are grieving the untimely death of Tessa Jowell. She was an exceptional person. Tony Blair confirmed the impression she gave to those of us who only knew her from afar: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.”

For me, her death is personal for another reason. We found ourselves in the same elite club.

Like Tessa Jowell, I was blindsided by a diagnosis of glioblastoma (GBM) in January 2016. I was walking in the hills in upstate New York (we live in the city) when a strange sensation made me stop. I opened my mouth to explain to my friends and found I couldn’t form any words. I slumped into unconsciousness, having a full-blown seizure.

Two days later I had brain surgery, and the terrible diagnosis came two weeks after that. Now, more than two years later, I am determined to do what I can to improve the outcomes for everyone like me living with this brutal disease. Jowell’s death gives me added impetus in the struggle to turn this monstrous disease around.

After I was diagnosed, I asked my neuro-oncologist why glioblastoma is so deadly; why the terrifying statistics suggested that I had a mere 5% chance of surviving five years. He explained to me that the dreaded figure five also relates to another key statistic: the percentage of successful applications for research funding into GBM. This disease is so complex, so aggressive and so rare, that it is hard to attract substantial research funding.

It is especially gratifying that Jowell’s powerful legacy has already begun to be felt in the form of increased government funding. But she would be the first to agree this is not enough. There is another currency to tap: a goldmine of patient-generated data that is massively under-collected and undervalued. At the heart of every GBM drama, as with any life-threatening disease, is a human being enduring symptoms – some good, many bad – resulting from the cancer and the treatments we take. Yet our relationship as patients with our disease is not consistently recorded or analysed. It can feel as if, from the perspective of the medical system, our experience is not worth understanding.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

As an example, I’ve been fortunate enough to be treated in New York with ground-breaking treatments that can be hard to come by in the UK, including electrotherapy and immunotherapy. These cost more than $ 30,000 a month, covered by insurance and the drug company’s compassionate use programme. But how the interaction between these therapies is actually affecting me is not recorded. This reflects a long-standing approach in medicine. The “objective” measures of disease progression, as evidenced by things like the size of my tumour, the results of my MRIs, are prized. The “subjective” measures of my experience – how I feel each day, my personal responses in terms of X or Y – are largely ignored.

Patients are active, wanting to share and swap notes. Desperate to know whether a change in diet, or a cocktail of supplements, or exercise, or mindset, can help them stay alive, they are busy on social media. Amid all this noise, doctors have little advice to give – “Should I adopt the ketogenic diet? Take medical marijuana? Fast twice a week?” – because none of these approaches have been, or could be, subject to the kind of clinical trial a new drug treatment undergoes.

But imagine if we could ask people to log how they’re feeling, and what steps they’re taking to manage their disease, every day. Imagine if we could then aggregate all that data and mine it for insights. Couldn’t we find some clues from patients’ unfiltered perspective that would supplement the clinical trials information?

Dr Ethan Basch, of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, undertook some fascinating research last year. He found that if you ask someone with cancer to log their symptoms, the act of doing so, coupled with your clinician’s ability to adjust therapies in real time, can lead to an actual improvement in disease outcome. People lived longer.

I’ve channelled my own frustration with my diagnosis into creating OurBrainBank, a non-profit organisation designed to move glioblastoma from terminal to treatable, powered by patients. We recently launched our pilot app in the US. People with GBM can log their symptoms daily and their aggregated data will be available to any qualified GBM researcher worldwide, for free, subject to strict screening. People using the app report feeling more on top of their disease through daily monitoring; better able to make use of their meetings with their clinicians; and more hopeful that by sharing their personal data they can play an active role in making progress.

Tessa Jowell died during May, which happens to be brain tumour awareness month. Our colour is grey. It’s strangely apt. Because what we need to crack GBM is to use our grey cells to think creatively and empathetically – patient and doctor alike.

That’s the kind of approach she espoused. She put it the best: “I hope always my politics are the politics of aspiration, ambition, possibility and the future.”

Jessica Morris is a strategic communications consultant and the founder and chair of OurBrainBank

Like Tessa Jowell, I have a brain tumour. I hope her death inspires new research | Jessica Morris

Many people are grieving the untimely death of Tessa Jowell. She was an exceptional person. Tony Blair confirmed the impression she gave to those of us who only knew her from afar: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.”

For me, her death is personal for another reason. We found ourselves in the same elite club.

Like Tessa Jowell, I was blindsided by a diagnosis of glioblastoma (GBM) in January 2016. I was walking in the hills in upstate New York (we live in the city) when a strange sensation made me stop. I opened my mouth to explain to my friends and found I couldn’t form any words. I slumped into unconsciousness, having a full-blown seizure.

Two days later I had brain surgery, and the terrible diagnosis came two weeks after that. Now, more than two years later, I am determined to do what I can to improve the outcomes for everyone like me living with this brutal disease. Jowell’s death gives me added impetus in the struggle to turn this monstrous disease around.

After I was diagnosed, I asked my neuro-oncologist why glioblastoma is so deadly; why the terrifying statistics suggested that I had a mere 5% chance of surviving five years. He explained to me that the dreaded figure five also relates to another key statistic: the percentage of successful applications for research funding into GBM. This disease is so complex, so aggressive and so rare, that it is hard to attract substantial research funding.

It is especially gratifying that Jowell’s powerful legacy has already begun to be felt in the form of increased government funding. But she would be the first to agree this is not enough. There is another currency to tap: a goldmine of patient-generated data that is massively under-collected and undervalued. At the heart of every GBM drama, as with any life-threatening disease, is a human being enduring symptoms – some good, many bad – resulting from the cancer and the treatments we take. Yet our relationship as patients with our disease is not consistently recorded or analysed. It can feel as if, from the perspective of the medical system, our experience is not worth understanding.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

As an example, I’ve been fortunate enough to be treated in New York with ground-breaking treatments that can be hard to come by in the UK, including electrotherapy and immunotherapy. These cost more than $ 30,000 a month, covered by insurance and the drug company’s compassionate use programme. But how the interaction between these therapies is actually affecting me is not recorded. This reflects a long-standing approach in medicine. The “objective” measures of disease progression, as evidenced by things like the size of my tumour, the results of my MRIs, are prized. The “subjective” measures of my experience – how I feel each day, my personal responses in terms of X or Y – are largely ignored.

Patients are active, wanting to share and swap notes. Desperate to know whether a change in diet, or a cocktail of supplements, or exercise, or mindset, can help them stay alive, they are busy on social media. Amid all this noise, doctors have little advice to give – “Should I adopt the ketogenic diet? Take medical marijuana? Fast twice a week?” – because none of these approaches have been, or could be, subject to the kind of clinical trial a new drug treatment undergoes.

But imagine if we could ask people to log how they’re feeling, and what steps they’re taking to manage their disease, every day. Imagine if we could then aggregate all that data and mine it for insights. Couldn’t we find some clues from patients’ unfiltered perspective that would supplement the clinical trials information?

Dr Ethan Basch, of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, undertook some fascinating research last year. He found that if you ask someone with cancer to log their symptoms, the act of doing so, coupled with your clinician’s ability to adjust therapies in real time, can lead to an actual improvement in disease outcome. People lived longer.

I’ve channelled my own frustration with my diagnosis into creating OurBrainBank, a non-profit organisation designed to move glioblastoma from terminal to treatable, powered by patients. We recently launched our pilot app in the US. People with GBM can log their symptoms daily and their aggregated data will be available to any qualified GBM researcher worldwide, for free, subject to strict screening. People using the app report feeling more on top of their disease through daily monitoring; better able to make use of their meetings with their clinicians; and more hopeful that by sharing their personal data they can play an active role in making progress.

Tessa Jowell died during May, which happens to be brain tumour awareness month. Our colour is grey. It’s strangely apt. Because what we need to crack GBM is to use our grey cells to think creatively and empathetically – patient and doctor alike.

That’s the kind of approach she espoused. She put it the best: “I hope always my politics are the politics of aspiration, ambition, possibility and the future.”

Jessica Morris is a strategic communications consultant and the founder and chair of OurBrainBank

Like Tessa Jowell, I have a brain tumour. I hope her death inspires new research | Jessica Morris

Many people are grieving the untimely death of Tessa Jowell. She was an exceptional person. Tony Blair confirmed the impression she gave to those of us who only knew her from afar: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.”

For me, her death is personal for another reason. We found ourselves in the same elite club.

Like Tessa Jowell, I was blindsided by a diagnosis of glioblastoma (GBM) in January 2016. I was walking in the hills in upstate New York (we live in the city) when a strange sensation made me stop. I opened my mouth to explain to my friends and found I couldn’t form any words. I slumped into unconsciousness, having a full-blown seizure.

Two days later I had brain surgery, and the terrible diagnosis came two weeks after that. Now, more than two years later, I am determined to do what I can to improve the outcomes for everyone like me living with this brutal disease. Jowell’s death gives me added impetus in the struggle to turn this monstrous disease around.

After I was diagnosed, I asked my neuro-oncologist why glioblastoma is so deadly; why the terrifying statistics suggested that I had a mere 5% chance of surviving five years. He explained to me that the dreaded figure five also relates to another key statistic: the percentage of successful applications for research funding into GBM. This disease is so complex, so aggressive and so rare, that it is hard to attract substantial research funding.

It is especially gratifying that Jowell’s powerful legacy has already begun to be felt in the form of increased government funding. But she would be the first to agree this is not enough. There is another currency to tap: a goldmine of patient-generated data that is massively under-collected and undervalued. At the heart of every GBM drama, as with any life-threatening disease, is a human being enduring symptoms – some good, many bad – resulting from the cancer and the treatments we take. Yet our relationship as patients with our disease is not consistently recorded or analysed. It can feel as if, from the perspective of the medical system, our experience is not worth understanding.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

As an example, I’ve been fortunate enough to be treated in New York with ground-breaking treatments that can be hard to come by in the UK, including electrotherapy and immunotherapy. These cost more than $ 30,000 a month, covered by insurance and the drug company’s compassionate use programme. But how the interaction between these therapies is actually affecting me is not recorded. This reflects a long-standing approach in medicine. The “objective” measures of disease progression, as evidenced by things like the size of my tumour, the results of my MRIs, are prized. The “subjective” measures of my experience – how I feel each day, my personal responses in terms of X or Y – are largely ignored.

Patients are active, wanting to share and swap notes. Desperate to know whether a change in diet, or a cocktail of supplements, or exercise, or mindset, can help them stay alive, they are busy on social media. Amid all this noise, doctors have little advice to give – “Should I adopt the ketogenic diet? Take medical marijuana? Fast twice a week?” – because none of these approaches have been, or could be, subject to the kind of clinical trial a new drug treatment undergoes.

But imagine if we could ask people to log how they’re feeling, and what steps they’re taking to manage their disease, every day. Imagine if we could then aggregate all that data and mine it for insights. Couldn’t we find some clues from patients’ unfiltered perspective that would supplement the clinical trials information?

Dr Ethan Basch, of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, undertook some fascinating research last year. He found that if you ask someone with cancer to log their symptoms, the act of doing so, coupled with your clinician’s ability to adjust therapies in real time, can lead to an actual improvement in disease outcome. People lived longer.

I’ve channelled my own frustration with my diagnosis into creating OurBrainBank, a non-profit organisation designed to move glioblastoma from terminal to treatable, powered by patients. We recently launched our pilot app in the US. People with GBM can log their symptoms daily and their aggregated data will be available to any qualified GBM researcher worldwide, for free, subject to strict screening. People using the app report feeling more on top of their disease through daily monitoring; better able to make use of their meetings with their clinicians; and more hopeful that by sharing their personal data they can play an active role in making progress.

Tessa Jowell died during May, which happens to be brain tumour awareness month. Our colour is grey. It’s strangely apt. Because what we need to crack GBM is to use our grey cells to think creatively and empathetically – patient and doctor alike.

That’s the kind of approach she espoused. She put it the best: “I hope always my politics are the politics of aspiration, ambition, possibility and the future.”

Jessica Morris is a strategic communications consultant and the founder and chair of OurBrainBank

Tessa Jowell’s family hail increased brain cancer funding

Tessa Jowell’s family have hailed a government decision to double funding for brain cancer research and roll out better diagnostic tests to all NHS hospitals in tribute to the former Labour cabinet minister, saying they hoped it could help other people survive the illness.

The decision was announced by Theresa May and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after it was announced that Jowell, who had spent the last months of her life campaigning for better treatment and diagnosis for those with brain cancer, had died aged 70.

No 10 announced it would fulfil two of Jowell’s key campaign aims, including a national rollout of a brain cancer diagnosis test, gold standard dye, used to identify tumours. The method is used in only half of brain cancer centres in England.

Her husband, David Mills, said the family was hugely proud of what Jowell had achieved.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “She had an extraordinarily successful career in politics, and then somehow after this disease struck her she added another 25% to it, in what she’s done to publicise the shortage of research for brain cancer, and to give people hope that they wouldn’t have had.”

Jowell had sought immunotherapy treatment in Germany, and had been hoping to try a vaccine made from the DNA of her tumour, but died 36 hours after suffering a haemorrhage, Mills said.

“One thing she said was, ‘If I can just survive two years at a time, or even a year at a time, new things will come along and it’ll give us new hope,’” he said.

“And I think that is, in a sense, the message that is coming out now – that with this wonderful initiative from the government there will be more impetus into the research that’s necessary, and people who suffer from this disease will have a growing chance to survive.”

Jowell’s daughter, Jessie Mills, said her mother had been active and in good spirits until the haemorrhage, and died peacefully.

“We were with her every single moment,” she said. “We didn’t let her go for the whole of the last couple of days that she was very, very ill. We literally laid next to her, kissing her, holding her, telling her how much we loved her.”

She added: “It’s the greatest honour of my life to be her daughter, and the way she was until the last moments was just so courageous and brave.”

Speaking earlier on Today, Hunt said the message from Jowell had been an important one: “When it comes to rarer cancers, the issue is attracting the research funding for high quality research projects. And what Tessa identified was that we’re not putting enough into research, which is why what we’re announcing today will, we hope, catalyse more funding into research.”

Downing Street has said it hoped the first symposium would take place by the end of the year. The work to fulfil the commitments will be led by health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy.

Jowell met May and Hunt in Downing Street in February, when they unveiled a new £45m brain cancer research fund, with new government funding of £20m over five years.

That has now been doubled with more new money to £40m, which will bring the total research fund to £65m, including £25m from Cancer Research UK and £13m of regular funding.

The government also said it would speed up the use of adaptive trials – another key ask by Jowell during her House of Lords speech. “New adaptive trials can test many treatments at the same time,” she said. “They speed up the process and save a lot of money.”

Tessa Jowell’s family hail increased brain cancer funding

Tessa Jowell’s family have hailed a government decision to double funding for brain cancer research and roll out better diagnostic tests to all NHS hospitals in tribute to the former Labour cabinet minister, saying they hoped it could help other people survive the illness.

The decision was announced by Theresa May and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after it was announced that Jowell, who had spent the last months of her life campaigning for better treatment and diagnosis for those with brain cancer, had died aged 70.

No 10 announced it would fulfil two of Jowell’s key campaign aims, including a national rollout of a brain cancer diagnosis test, gold standard dye, used to identify tumours. The method is used in only half of brain cancer centres in England.

Her husband, David Mills, said the family was hugely proud of what Jowell had achieved.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “She had an extraordinarily successful career in politics, and then somehow after this disease struck her she added another 25% to it, in what she’s done to publicise the shortage of research for brain cancer, and to give people hope that they wouldn’t have had.”

Jowell had sought immunotherapy treatment in Germany, and had been hoping to try a vaccine made from the DNA of her tumour, but died 36 hours after suffering a haemorrhage, Mills said.

“One thing she said was, ‘If I can just survive two years at a time, or even a year at a time, new things will come along and it’ll give us new hope,’” he said.

“And I think that is, in a sense, the message that is coming out now – that with this wonderful initiative from the government there will be more impetus into the research that’s necessary, and people who suffer from this disease will have a growing chance to survive.”

Jowell’s daughter, Jessie Mills, said her mother had been active and in good spirits until the haemorrhage, and died peacefully.

“We were with her every single moment,” she said. “We didn’t let her go for the whole of the last couple of days that she was very, very ill. We literally laid next to her, kissing her, holding her, telling her how much we loved her.”

She added: “It’s the greatest honour of my life to be her daughter, and the way she was until the last moments was just so courageous and brave.”

Speaking earlier on Today, Hunt said the message from Jowell had been an important one: “When it comes to rarer cancers, the issue is attracting the research funding for high quality research projects. And what Tessa identified was that we’re not putting enough into research, which is why what we’re announcing today will, we hope, catalyse more funding into research.”

Downing Street has said it hoped the first symposium would take place by the end of the year. The work to fulfil the commitments will be led by health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy.

Jowell met May and Hunt in Downing Street in February, when they unveiled a new £45m brain cancer research fund, with new government funding of £20m over five years.

That has now been doubled with more new money to £40m, which will bring the total research fund to £65m, including £25m from Cancer Research UK and £13m of regular funding.

The government also said it would speed up the use of adaptive trials – another key ask by Jowell during her House of Lords speech. “New adaptive trials can test many treatments at the same time,” she said. “They speed up the process and save a lot of money.”

Tessa Jowell’s family hail increased brain cancer funding

Tessa Jowell’s family have hailed a government decision to double funding for brain cancer research and roll out better diagnostic tests to all NHS hospitals in tribute to the former Labour cabinet minister, saying they hoped it could help other people survive the illness.

The decision was announced by Theresa May and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after it was announced that Jowell, who had spent the last months of her life campaigning for better treatment and diagnosis for those with brain cancer, had died aged 70.

No 10 announced it would fulfil two of Jowell’s key campaign aims, including a national rollout of a brain cancer diagnosis test, gold standard dye, used to identify tumours. The method is used in only half of brain cancer centres in England.

Her husband, David Mills, said the family was hugely proud of what Jowell had achieved.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “She had an extraordinarily successful career in politics, and then somehow after this disease struck her she added another 25% to it, in what she’s done to publicise the shortage of research for brain cancer, and to give people hope that they wouldn’t have had.”

Jowell had sought immunotherapy treatment in Germany, and had been hoping to try a vaccine made from the DNA of her tumour, but died 36 hours after suffering a haemorrhage, Mills said.

“One thing she said was, ‘If I can just survive two years at a time, or even a year at a time, new things will come along and it’ll give us new hope,’” he said.

“And I think that is, in a sense, the message that is coming out now – that with this wonderful initiative from the government there will be more impetus into the research that’s necessary, and people who suffer from this disease will have a growing chance to survive.”

Jowell’s daughter, Jessie Mills, said her mother had been active and in good spirits until the haemorrhage, and died peacefully.

“We were with her every single moment,” she said. “We didn’t let her go for the whole of the last couple of days that she was very, very ill. We literally laid next to her, kissing her, holding her, telling her how much we loved her.”

She added: “It’s the greatest honour of my life to be her daughter, and the way she was until the last moments was just so courageous and brave.”

Speaking earlier on Today, Hunt said the message from Jowell had been an important one: “When it comes to rarer cancers, the issue is attracting the research funding for high quality research projects. And what Tessa identified was that we’re not putting enough into research, which is why what we’re announcing today will, we hope, catalyse more funding into research.”

Downing Street has said it hoped the first symposium would take place by the end of the year. The work to fulfil the commitments will be led by health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy.

Jowell met May and Hunt in Downing Street in February, when they unveiled a new £45m brain cancer research fund, with new government funding of £20m over five years.

That has now been doubled with more new money to £40m, which will bring the total research fund to £65m, including £25m from Cancer Research UK and £13m of regular funding.

The government also said it would speed up the use of adaptive trials – another key ask by Jowell during her House of Lords speech. “New adaptive trials can test many treatments at the same time,” she said. “They speed up the process and save a lot of money.”

Tessa Jowell’s family hail increased brain cancer funding

Tessa Jowell’s family have hailed a government decision to double funding for brain cancer research and roll out better diagnostic tests to all NHS hospitals in tribute to the former Labour cabinet minister, saying they hoped it could help other people survive the illness.

The decision was announced by Theresa May and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after it was announced that Jowell, who had spent the last months of her life campaigning for better treatment and diagnosis for those with brain cancer, had died aged 70.

No 10 announced it would fulfil two of Jowell’s key campaign aims, including a national rollout of a brain cancer diagnosis test, gold standard dye, used to identify tumours. The method is used in only half of brain cancer centres in England.

Her husband, David Mills, said the family was hugely proud of what Jowell had achieved.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “She had an extraordinarily successful career in politics, and then somehow after this disease struck her she added another 25% to it, in what she’s done to publicise the shortage of research for brain cancer, and to give people hope that they wouldn’t have had.”

Jowell had sought immunotherapy treatment in Germany, and had been hoping to try a vaccine made from the DNA of her tumour, but died 36 hours after suffering a haemorrhage, Mills said.

“One thing she said was, ‘If I can just survive two years at a time, or even a year at a time, new things will come along and it’ll give us new hope,’” he said.

“And I think that is, in a sense, the message that is coming out now – that with this wonderful initiative from the government there will be more impetus into the research that’s necessary, and people who suffer from this disease will have a growing chance to survive.”

Jowell’s daughter, Jessie Mills, said her mother had been active and in good spirits until the haemorrhage, and died peacefully.

“We were with her every single moment,” she said. “We didn’t let her go for the whole of the last couple of days that she was very, very ill. We literally laid next to her, kissing her, holding her, telling her how much we loved her.”

She added: “It’s the greatest honour of my life to be her daughter, and the way she was until the last moments was just so courageous and brave.”

Speaking earlier on Today, Hunt said the message from Jowell had been an important one: “When it comes to rarer cancers, the issue is attracting the research funding for high quality research projects. And what Tessa identified was that we’re not putting enough into research, which is why what we’re announcing today will, we hope, catalyse more funding into research.”

Downing Street has said it hoped the first symposium would take place by the end of the year. The work to fulfil the commitments will be led by health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy.

Jowell met May and Hunt in Downing Street in February, when they unveiled a new £45m brain cancer research fund, with new government funding of £20m over five years.

That has now been doubled with more new money to £40m, which will bring the total research fund to £65m, including £25m from Cancer Research UK and £13m of regular funding.

The government also said it would speed up the use of adaptive trials – another key ask by Jowell during her House of Lords speech. “New adaptive trials can test many treatments at the same time,” she said. “They speed up the process and save a lot of money.”

What is a brain haemorrhage and how is it treated?

What is a brain haemorrhage?

The word haemorrhage comes from the Greek haimorrhagia and means “blood bursting forth”. It is a type of stroke that can be fatal and occurs when there is bleeding on the surface of the brain, just below the arachnoid membrane. It is most commonly caused by an aneurysm, which is a small, balloon-like swelling on an artery. The haemorrhage happens when the aneurysm wall bursts and blood escapes into the surrounding tissue, killing brain cells.

How do you know it is happening?

There are usually no warning signs, but it sometimes happens during physical effort or straining, such as coughing, going to the toilet or lifting something heavy. It can feel like a sudden hit on the head followed by a sudden agonising headache. Other symptoms include a stiff neck, being sick, sensitivity to light and blurred or double vision.

What causes it?

Contributing factors include smoking, high blood pressure and excessive alcohol consumption, but aneurysms can occur in people without these known risk factors. In most cases there is no way of identifying people who are at risk. There is a slight hereditary factor. More women are affected than men, and they are most common in people aged between 45 and 70.

How is it treated?

After a scan and medication to reduce the risk of secondary brain damage caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, surgery under general anaesthetic is often needed. One method involves a neurosurgeon cutting a bone flap in the skull and sealing the aneurysm shut with a tiny metal clip that stays permanently clamped in place. Another involves passing tiny platinum coils through the vascular system from an incision in the groin, to seal off the aneurysm from the main artery.

What are the long-term effects?

There is a danger that the aneurysm can burst again or there is brain damage. If you survive, memory and concentration are commonly affected and depression and anxiety can occur. Epilepsy develops in around one in 20 people. Headaches, tiredness and loss of sensation in other parts of the body during recovery are not uncommon.

Sources: NHS and the Brain and Spine Foundation