Tag Archives: Tessa

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.”

The ‘people politician’: Tessa Jowell obituary

Until the revelation of her brain tumour last September, Tessa Jowell, Lady Jowell, the former secretary of state for culture, media and sport, who has died aged 70, was best known outside Westminster as the minister for the Olympics in the run-up to the hugely successful London games in 2012. It was directly as a result of her enthusiasm and personal pressure on the then prime minister, Tony Blair, that the UK first mounted its bid and then subsequently won the competition to stage the event. As an MP in the House of Commons, Jowell was best known as the unfailing cheerleader for Blair’s leadership of New Labour: “The ultimate sensible loyalist”, as he described her in his memoirs.

After the unexpected death of John Smith in May 1994, Jowell was one of the first Labour MPs to assert Blair’s claim to inherit the Labour leadership. Her steadfast support thereafter was rewarded with her uninterrupted tenure of a seat on the party’s frontbench for the next 18 years. “She is a great person, Tessa, just a gem,” wrote Blair. “She represents the best of political loyalty, which at its best isn’t blind, but thoroughly considered.” She nonetheless spoke her mind to the prime minister, notably over the Olympics. She upbraided him for having doubts about making a bid: “Of course we may not win,” she told him, “but at least we will have had the courage to try.” She was also one of those close to him who persuaded him not to stand down in 2004. Although she later tried to deny it, Jowell did once say of Blair in an interview: “I would jump in front of a bus to save him.”

Tessa Jowell with Tony Blair in 2005


Tessa Jowell with Tony Blair in 2005. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

Jowell had been elected to the Commons as MP for Dulwich (later Dulwich and West Norwood), in 1992, only two years before Blair’s election as leader, but she had previously acquired 15 years of political expertise as a Labour councillor. She had also made a number of important social and political connections, moving as she did in a circle of increasingly influential Labour supporters, many of whom shared her belief in the need for a party shakeup. It was this emphasis on a new-look, modern Labour party that coalesced around Blair’s bid for the leadership and Jowell, who knew how to handle the media as well as the woman in the street, was in the vanguard.

Blair recognised both her competence and the useful potential of her likeable personality. She exuded cheerfulness and gave even those she had only just met the sense of being one of her old friends. In consequence, in the course of her career she was handed some of the most testing social policy briefs in government, including dealing with broadcasting policy, licensing hours, gambling laws, equality legislation, tobacco advertising, the nation’s diet and the Queen’s golden jubilee.

Her reputation as a “people politician” with the common touch led to her being given ministerial responsibility for helping the families of British victims of the 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Center and in 2005 for those caught up in the July terrorist attacks on the London transport system.

Her apparent straightforwardness – which disguised a sharp respect for political pragmatism – her genuine commitment to social justice and, above all, her demonstrated reliability to stick to the New Labour message in all circumstances, guaranteed her swift early promotion. She became known in the media, partly because of her government responsibilities for a range of domestic issues, as New Labour’s very own nanny. Unusually, in 1996 she had been confirmed as an adult into the Church of England. Her close friendships led her to become a godmother to one of Alastair Campbell and Fiona Millar’s children and for Peter Mandelson to be godfather to one of hers.

Tessa Jowell holds her Dame Commander insignia after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2013


Tessa Jowell holds her Dame Commander insignia after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2013. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

She did not escape controversy, but it didn’t happen because of her own lack of political skill. In the first instance she was embroiled in an early scandal of Blair’s new administration in 1997 when, as minister of state with responsibility for public health, she had to justify seeking to exempt Formula One motor racing from the proposed ban on tobacco advertising, having previously described herself as the “scourge” of the tobacco industry. It then emerged that the Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, had made a donation of £1m to the Labour party’s recent election campaign and that Jowell’s husband, David Mills, had business links with one of the racing teams. There was no impropriety in the family connection, but Blair had to apologise for the government’s mishandling of the affair and promised to return the political donation from Ecclestone.

More personally embarrassing was the later revelation that her husband, a millionaire tax lawyer, had accepted a gift of £350,000 from the disgraced former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, in exchange for allegedly giving false testimony in two trials. The couple separated in 2006, a move suspected by some as designed to save Jowell’s cabinet job. Mills was given a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence by the Italian courts in 2009, against which he appealed, but the sentence was overturned for technical reasons in 2010. The couple were reconciled in 2012.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

Tessa was the oldest of three children of Kenneth Palmer, a doctor, and his wife, Rosemary Douglas, a radiologist and an artist. Tessa was born in London but the family moved to Aberdeen when she was five and she was educated at the city’s St Margaret’s school for girls and the University of Aberdeen, where she studied general arts, sociology and psychology. She then did a further degree in social administration at Edinburgh University before moving to London, working as a childcare officer in Lambeth and then qualifying as a psychiatric social worker at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

She worked at the Maudsley hospital from 1972 to 1974, then switched to the voluntary sector as assistant director of the mental health charity Mind until 1986. For the next four years she was director of a community care special action project in Birmingham. From 1990 until her election to parliament she worked for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and was a senior visiting fellow at the health and social care charity the King’s Fund.

She had joined the Labour party when she was 22, in 1969, jokingly attributing her interest in politics to her enthusiasm for the Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus. In 1971, she was elected to Camden council in London and within two years was chairing the social services committee. Later in her council career, from 1984 to 1986, she chaired the social services committee of the powerful Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

Jowell campaigning for Labour in the Ilford North byelection in 1978


Jowell campaigning for Labour in the Ilford North byelection in 1978. Photograph: M. Fresco/Getty Images

In 1970, she had married the social scientist Roger Jowell, who was also a Camden councillor, but she then met and fell in love with Mills. They married in 1979.

Tessa Jowell was picked as the Labour candidate in Ilford North to defend the party’s very narrow majority in what proved to be a key byelection in 1978, caused by the death of the sitting MP. It was a bitterly contested election, fought in difficult circumstances and the revelation of her domestic circumstances in the course of the campaign was an added and unwelcome distraction. Vivian Bendall won the seat for the Conservatives and the following year increased his majority over Jowell in the general election. During the 1980s, Jowell failed to secure selection as the Labour candidate for Bermondsey and for Hampstead and Highgate, but was selected for Dulwich in 1990.

Jowell’s professional life had provided her with a considerable record of hands-on experience, which she would later bring to her government jobs at the Department of Health from 1997 to 1999 and, from 1999 to 2001, as minister of state with responsibility for women and as minister for employment, welfare to work and equal opportunities.

She introduced health targets, maternity and paternity leave and the Sure Start initiative for improved childcare. “I moved from social care to government because it’s only in government that you can provide the big solutions,” she explained once. She was promoted to the cabinet as culture secretary in 2001, with the Olympics added as a special responsibility in 2005. Her period in the department was marked by much public debate about the future of television, about digital broadcasting and the structure and financing of the BBC. She oversaw the establishment of the media regulator Ofcom. During the phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the News of the World, she revealed that her own phone had been hacked 28 times in early 2006.

When Gordon Brown succeeded Blair as prime minister in 2007, he kept Jowell on as Olympics minister, but she was demoted from the cabinet. She was appointed minister of state and given the title paymaster general, but the trajectory of her career path had changed. In Labour’s last year in office before the 2010 election she was given the job of minister for London and she retained her responsibility for both the Olympics and for London until 2012.

She stood down as an MP in the 2015 general election in order to campaign to win selection as Labour’s candidate for the post of London Mayor, a post for which she fought with characteristic energy and for which she was early favourite. She lost to Sadiq Khan, then MP for Tooting, who proposed a more radical agenda and comfortably won the selection in all three categories of the party’s electoral college.

Jowell was made a member of the Privy Council in 1998 and a dame in 2012. She joined the House of Lords in 2015 and took up a number of academic appointments, including that of a senior fellow at the Institute of Government and a further senior fellowship at the School of Public Health at Harvard University.

Jowell announced she had brain cancer last September and later vowed to find ways to make “better, longer lives for people with cancer”.

In January, she received a standing ovation – breaking parliamentary protocol – in the House of Lords after giving a moving speech about her cancer in which she urged peers to support an international initiative to share resources, research and new treatments.

Jowell’s speech led to a meeting in February with ministers, cancer campaigners and charities where some of her objectives such as measuring improvements in the quality of life lived with cancer were agreed.

And she was hailed as an inspiration during a debate in parliament, when she came to the House of Commons to meet the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and his Labour shadow, Jon Ashworth, in her campaign for better support and access and more research to clinical trials for brain cancer patients.

She is survived by her husband, their two children, Jessie and Matthew, and three step-daughters.

Tessa Jane Helen Douglas Jowell, Lady Jowell, politician, born 17 September 1947; died 12 May 2018

The ‘people politician’: Tessa Jowell obituary

Until the revelation of her brain tumour last September, Tessa Jowell, Lady Jowell, the former secretary of state for culture, media and sport, who has died aged 70, was best known outside Westminster as the minister for the Olympics in the run-up to the hugely successful London games in 2012. It was directly as a result of her enthusiasm and personal pressure on the then prime minister, Tony Blair, that the UK first mounted its bid and then subsequently won the competition to stage the event. As an MP in the House of Commons, Jowell was best known as the unfailing cheerleader for Blair’s leadership of New Labour: “The ultimate sensible loyalist”, as he described her in his memoirs.

After the unexpected death of John Smith in May 1994, Jowell was one of the first Labour MPs to assert Blair’s claim to inherit the Labour leadership. Her steadfast support thereafter was rewarded with her uninterrupted tenure of a seat on the party’s frontbench for the next 18 years. “She is a great person, Tessa, just a gem,” wrote Blair. “She represents the best of political loyalty, which at its best isn’t blind, but thoroughly considered.” She nonetheless spoke her mind to the prime minister, notably over the Olympics. She upbraided him for having doubts about making a bid: “Of course we may not win,” she told him, “but at least we will have had the courage to try.” She was also one of those close to him who persuaded him not to stand down in 2004. Although she later tried to deny it, Jowell did once say of Blair in an interview: “I would jump in front of a bus to save him.”

Tessa Jowell with Tony Blair in 2005


Tessa Jowell with Tony Blair in 2005. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

Jowell had been elected to the Commons as MP for Dulwich (later Dulwich and West Norwood), in 1992, only two years before Blair’s election as leader, but she had previously acquired 15 years of political expertise as a Labour councillor. She had also made a number of important social and political connections, moving as she did in a circle of increasingly influential Labour supporters, many of whom shared her belief in the need for a party shakeup. It was this emphasis on a new-look, modern Labour party that coalesced around Blair’s bid for the leadership and Jowell, who knew how to handle the media as well as the woman in the street, was in the vanguard.

Blair recognised both her competence and the useful potential of her likeable personality. She exuded cheerfulness and gave even those she had only just met the sense of being one of her old friends. In consequence, in the course of her career she was handed some of the most testing social policy briefs in government, including dealing with broadcasting policy, licensing hours, gambling laws, equality legislation, tobacco advertising, the nation’s diet and the Queen’s golden jubilee.

Her reputation as a “people politician” with the common touch led to her being given ministerial responsibility for helping the families of British victims of the 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Center and in 2005 for those caught up in the July terrorist attacks on the London transport system.

Her apparent straightforwardness – which disguised a sharp respect for political pragmatism – her genuine commitment to social justice and, above all, her demonstrated reliability to stick to the New Labour message in all circumstances, guaranteed her swift early promotion. She became known in the media, partly because of her government responsibilities for a range of domestic issues, as New Labour’s very own nanny. Unusually, in 1996 she had been confirmed as an adult into the Church of England. Her close friendships led her to become a godmother to one of Alastair Campbell and Fiona Millar’s children and for Peter Mandelson to be godfather to one of hers.

Tessa Jowell holds her Dame Commander insignia after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2013


Tessa Jowell holds her Dame Commander insignia after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2013. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

She did not escape controversy, but it didn’t happen because of her own lack of political skill. In the first instance she was embroiled in an early scandal of Blair’s new administration in 1997 when, as minister of state with responsibility for public health, she had to justify seeking to exempt Formula One motor racing from the proposed ban on tobacco advertising, having previously described herself as the “scourge” of the tobacco industry. It then emerged that the Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, had made a donation of £1m to the Labour party’s recent election campaign and that Jowell’s husband, David Mills, had business links with one of the racing teams. There was no impropriety in the family connection, but Blair had to apologise for the government’s mishandling of the affair and promised to return the political donation from Ecclestone.

More personally embarrassing was the later revelation that her husband, a millionaire tax lawyer, had accepted a gift of £350,000 from the disgraced former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, in exchange for allegedly giving false testimony in two trials. The couple separated in 2006, a move suspected by some as designed to save Jowell’s cabinet job. Mills was given a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence by the Italian courts in 2009, against which he appealed, but the sentence was overturned for technical reasons in 2010. The couple were reconciled in 2012.

Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 – video obituary

Tessa was the oldest of three children of Kenneth Palmer, a doctor, and his wife, Rosemary Douglas, a radiologist and an artist. Tessa was born in London but the family moved to Aberdeen when she was five and she was educated at the city’s St Margaret’s school for girls and the University of Aberdeen, where she studied general arts, sociology and psychology. She then did a further degree in social administration at Edinburgh University before moving to London, working as a childcare officer in Lambeth and then qualifying as a psychiatric social worker at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

She worked at the Maudsley hospital from 1972 to 1974, then switched to the voluntary sector as assistant director of the mental health charity Mind until 1986. For the next four years she was director of a community care special action project in Birmingham. From 1990 until her election to parliament she worked for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and was a senior visiting fellow at the health and social care charity the King’s Fund.

She had joined the Labour party when she was 22, in 1969, jokingly attributing her interest in politics to her enthusiasm for the Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus. In 1971, she was elected to Camden council in London and within two years was chairing the social services committee. Later in her council career, from 1984 to 1986, she chaired the social services committee of the powerful Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

Jowell campaigning for Labour in the Ilford North byelection in 1978


Jowell campaigning for Labour in the Ilford North byelection in 1978. Photograph: M. Fresco/Getty Images

In 1970, she had married the social scientist Roger Jowell, who was also a Camden councillor, but she then met and fell in love with Mills. They married in 1979.

Tessa Jowell was picked as the Labour candidate in Ilford North to defend the party’s very narrow majority in what proved to be a key byelection in 1978, caused by the death of the sitting MP. It was a bitterly contested election, fought in difficult circumstances and the revelation of her domestic circumstances in the course of the campaign was an added and unwelcome distraction. Vivian Bendall won the seat for the Conservatives and the following year increased his majority over Jowell in the general election. During the 1980s, Jowell failed to secure selection as the Labour candidate for Bermondsey and for Hampstead and Highgate, but was selected for Dulwich in 1990.

Jowell’s professional life had provided her with a considerable record of hands-on experience, which she would later bring to her government jobs at the Department of Health from 1997 to 1999 and, from 1999 to 2001, as minister of state with responsibility for women and as minister for employment, welfare to work and equal opportunities.

She introduced health targets, maternity and paternity leave and the Sure Start initiative for improved childcare. “I moved from social care to government because it’s only in government that you can provide the big solutions,” she explained once. She was promoted to the cabinet as culture secretary in 2001, with the Olympics added as a special responsibility in 2005. Her period in the department was marked by much public debate about the future of television, about digital broadcasting and the structure and financing of the BBC. She oversaw the establishment of the media regulator Ofcom. During the phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the News of the World, she revealed that her own phone had been hacked 28 times in early 2006.

When Gordon Brown succeeded Blair as prime minister in 2007, he kept Jowell on as Olympics minister, but she was demoted from the cabinet. She was appointed minister of state and given the title paymaster general, but the trajectory of her career path had changed. In Labour’s last year in office before the 2010 election she was given the job of minister for London and she retained her responsibility for both the Olympics and for London until 2012.

She stood down as an MP in the 2015 general election in order to campaign to win selection as Labour’s candidate for the post of London Mayor, a post for which she fought with characteristic energy and for which she was early favourite. She lost to Sadiq Khan, then MP for Tooting, who proposed a more radical agenda and comfortably won the selection in all three categories of the party’s electoral college.

Jowell was made a member of the Privy Council in 1998 and a dame in 2012. She joined the House of Lords in 2015 and took up a number of academic appointments, including that of a senior fellow at the Institute of Government and a further senior fellowship at the School of Public Health at Harvard University.

Jowell announced she had brain cancer last September and later vowed to find ways to make “better, longer lives for people with cancer”.

In January, she received a standing ovation – breaking parliamentary protocol – in the House of Lords after giving a moving speech about her cancer in which she urged peers to support an international initiative to share resources, research and new treatments.

Jowell’s speech led to a meeting in February with ministers, cancer campaigners and charities where some of her objectives such as measuring improvements in the quality of life lived with cancer were agreed.

And she was hailed as an inspiration during a debate in parliament, when she came to the House of Commons to meet the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and his Labour shadow, Jon Ashworth, in her campaign for better support and access and more research to clinical trials for brain cancer patients.

She is survived by her husband, their two children, Jessie and Matthew, and three step-daughters.

Tessa Jane Helen Douglas Jowell, Lady Jowell, politician, born 17 September 1947; died 12 May 2018