Brain Tumour Research slashes funding for flagship University of Portsmouth cancer laboratory

Research will continue at the University of Portsmouth, but personnel will be reduced from seven to three
Research will continue at the University of Portsmouth, but personnel will be reduced from seven to three
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FUNDING for brain tumour researchers hunting for a cure to cancer has been slashed.

Four jobs are set to go at the flagship University of Portsmouth lab, funded by Brain Tumour Research.

The charity has reduced its contribution into the centre for excellence, established in 2009, from £515,885 to £300,000. Seven posts are funded by the charity. This will drop to three.

Researchers remaining at the lab will focus on mitochondria and blood brain barrier research.

Mitochondria are the energy-producing batteries that drive cells, with defective ones being hallmarks of cancer.

Research into the blood brain barrier looks at how drugs can penetrate the protective barrier to treat tumours, and how some cancers are able to spread by doing so. A University of Portsmouth spokesman said the cash will ‘strengthen our vital research into the blood brain barrier and mitochondria’.

Professor Sherria Hoskins, dean of the Faculty of Science, said: ‘We will continue to work closely with Brain Tumour Research on vital research into the blood brain barrier and mitochondria, which hold important keys to fighting brain tumours.

‘Decisions about funding are likely to bring about a refocus in some areas of our research funded by the charity.’

Paediatric and therapeutic work being carried out at the lab will not miss out, the university said.

The research lab, which has the charity’s Wall of Hope naming people who have donated cash to the organisation, is one of BTR’s five in the country.

Charity chief executive Sue Farrington Smith said: ‘The senior posts that we will be funding at the University of Portsmouth will enable them to access the funding that has now been made available and build their own teams in the future. 

‘This will strengthen the great research that is going on at the university in the areas of the Blood Brain Barrier and mitochondria.’

The senior charity worker said it ‘works to increase the overall investment in brain tumour research’.

She added: ‘The fundraising support we receive from the people of Portsmouth is very important and will continue to be so as we work to bring forward the day when outcomes for brain tumour patients and their families can be significantly improved.’