Brain tumour centre has £75,000 extension

Professor Geoff Pilkington who is the head of the brain tumour research centre at Portsmouth University.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (110034-1)
Professor Geoff Pilkington who is the head of the brain tumour research centre at Portsmouth University.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (110034-1)

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THOUSANDS of pounds have been spent on extending a brain tumour research laboratory in Portsmouth.

The existing research facility, at the University of Portsmouth’s school of pharmacy and biomedical sciences, opened June 2010.

Now charity Brain Tumour Research (BTR) has put in £75,000 to extend the lab, which is due to be officially opened today.

The extension, which is the first across seven national centres to be expanded, will be called the Alison Phelan Memorial Laboratory.

It is in tribute to Alison Phelan, of Middlesex, who died from a brain tumour in 2001, aged only seven.

Alison’s aunt Sue Farrington Smith, who is also head of BTR, will be at the opening.

She said: ‘My niece Ali is the inspiration behind my passion to drive the research forward.

‘My sister, Julie and other members of our family and friends don’t want other families to have to go through what we went through.

‘I still can’t believe how little funding goes into finding a cure for a disease that steals so many people’s futures.

‘Our aim is to create a global network of research centres where knowledge and findings can be shared easily in order to make regular advancements towards a solution.’

Over the next three years an additional £500,000 will be put into the lab by BTR and charities Ali’s Dream, Charlie’s Challenge and Headcase.

The money will be used to fund a specialist doctor from America and three students to further carry out research into tumours.

Professor Geoff Pilkington currently works in the lab and explains what the facility is used for.

He said: ‘The lab will be used for molecular characterisation of all the human brain tumour biopsy material we bring into the lab and, in particular to genetically fingerprint all the cell lines which we will derive from incoming biopsies.

‘This will help us to find novel targets for brain tumours and see how it respond to various forms of treatment.’