Brain cancer patients at Addenbrooke's Hospital to receive landmark treatments

Mr Richard Mair operates on an MBPTP patient with a brain tumour sample sent for rapid genetic sequencing.

Mr Richard Mair operates on an MBPTP patient with a brain tumour sample sent for rapid genetic sequencing. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Brain tumour patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital are the first in the UK to benefit from personalised treatment using the latest advances in genomics and targeted therapies through the Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme (MPBTP).

Patients with the most aggressive and fatal form of brain tumour, called glioblastoma, are being offered a more detailed diagnosis and tailored treatment plan based on genetic sequencing results turned around within 10 days.

Using cutting-edge genomics technology, the MPBTP is establishing the first-ever precision medicine system for brain cancer patients on the NHS, with the potential to revolutionise brain cancer treatment and improve survival rates.

The programme is a partnership between Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), Minderoo Foundation, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, NHS East Genomics Laboratory Hub, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre at the University of Cambridge and Illumina.

The ambition is to inspire, inform and ultimately improve the standard of care for all patients with brain cancer.

Mr Richard Mair, a consultant neurosurgeon at CUH leading the MBPTP, said: “This incredibly exciting new programme enables us to analyse the mutations driving a patient’s tumour in real-time.

"We hope to use this information to identify whether any new, targeted treatments can be offered to these patients.”

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UK Ambassador for Minderoo Foundation Jess Mills is closely connected with the MPBTP and is a founding member of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, established to deliver her mother’s legacy.

Jess's mother, the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, spent the final months of her life campaigning for better brain cancer treatments that could be made available to everyone via the NHS.

Jess Mills is a founding member of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.

Jess Mills is a founding member of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Jess said: “I am proud to carry on the campaign my mum started after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.”

“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK, and thanks to the support of the Minderoo Foundation, my hope is that every patient with a terminal diagnosis will soon be offered precision treatment so that they get to have the best chance possible of living and living well with their diagnosis.”

The MPBTP has an initial target of enrolling 225 adult patients in Cambridge over three years, aiming to demonstrate the benefits of precision medicine for brain cancer patients in an NHS clinical setting.